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Netflix: the next French cinema event is at the center of a legal battle

Storm warning for Under the Seine

In a fascinating and very detailed article, The world reveals that the French thriller Under the Seine, produced by Xavier Gens for the Netflix platform and due out in 2024, is the subject of litigation. The screenwriter and director Vincent Dietschy, author of well-known medium-length films and feature films (Julie is in love, Didine) has taken legal action against the manufacturers of Under the Seine Edouard Duprey and Sébastien Aucher, director of the Adéquat Laurent Grégoire artistic agency, and have initiated summary proceedings against Netflix, which co-finances and distributes Under the Seineto prevent its spread while waiting for the case to be judged on its merits.

Under the Seine
Under the Seine ©Netflix

Accusation of “parasitism”

What is this case that must be judged on its merits? Vincent Dietschy, active in auteur cinema, believes that the producers of Under the Seine they have not committed plagiarism – an idea cannot be “plagiarized”, but its realization in the form of a screenplay, book, image, etc. may be – but act of “parasitism“, comparable to unfair competition pursuant to article 1240 of the civil code. In fact, according to the director, the synopsis of Under the Seine looks exactly like the project he has been developing since 2011: Catfish. To fuel his suspicion of having been copied, he has the evidence, the summary of his project included in your written assistance request submitted to the CNC in February 2014:

“A young policewoman, a diver from the Paris River Brigade, finds herself confronted with an unprecedented natural phenomenon, embodied by a gigantic catfish, terribly aggressive and murderer of human beings. While the monster spreads panic in the capital, threatening the political of the mayor a few days after the choice of the city that will organize the Olympic Games, the heroine finds herself on the front line dealing with this figure of evil of a new species, aided in her fight by a young ichthyologist from the CNRS. time, she is approaching the his hierarchical superior, the commander.”

A synopsis that holds up effectively disturbing similarities with that of Under the Seine :

“Summer 2024, Paris hosts the triathlon world championships on the Seine for the first time. Sophia, a brilliant scientist, is alerted by Mika, a young ecology activist, to the presence of a large shark in the depths of the river. They have no choice but to ally themselves with Adil, commander of the river police to avoid a bloodbath in the heart of the city.”

Under the Seine
Under the Seine ©Netflix

Universal inspiration and very specific points

The characters are not exactly the same, and they range from the catfish, a predatory freshwater fish that can reach a size of almost 3 meters, to the shark. But the two synopses are very close. If you hover your mouse over Catfish AND Under the Seine the shadow of the masterpiece Jaws and more generally the whole genre of sea monster films, the mention of the river brigade shouts Vincent Dietschy, a new idea in his opinion.

For the director, a specific year and an event belong: the Alpe-d’Huez International Comedy Film Festival in 2015where he meets the head of the Adéquat Laurent Grégoire to discuss the financing of the Catfish. In the same place, that same year, producers Édouard Duprey and Sébastien Auscher launched the project Under the Seinefirst titled Under Paris Then Sharks. Questioned by Le Monde, Édouard Duprey denies ever having heard of the project Catfish. While it is difficult for Vincent Dietschy to provide formal proof that he was copied, it is equally difficult to say that Édouard Duprey would not be honest.

The procedure that will begin on April 22 in the Paris court it is unlikely that he will succeed in favor of Vincent Dietschy. AND Under the Seine, an important part of the summer program of the giant Netflix and whose release should be close to the opening of the Olympic Games, is unlikely to see its broadcast postponed or cancelled. But, as Le Monde suggests, it is rather on a symbolic level that the battle actually takes place, between arthouse film projects that are complex to finance and make profitable, and the so-called “studio” projects, initially supported by the producers. , who hold the keys to finding financing and issuers…

Source: Cine Serie

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