Sentinels (OCS): “The military will mostly agree with us”

OCS Sentinels
Pascal Aimar-OCS-Tetra Media

Plunging the viewer into the heart of Operation Barkhane, Thibault Valetoux and Frédéric Krivine question France’s intervention in Mali in the new original creation OCS.

Of the complexity of Opex. This is how it could be summed up Sentinels in two words. The new OCS original series is not only intended to immerse the viewer behind the scenes of Operation Barkhane, in Mali. It also directly questions the merits of this intervention and the presence of French soldiers on the spot.

An ambitious fiction, initially imagined by Thibault Valetoux. The young screenwriter (passed in particular by Paris Police) created his very first series there and to do things well, he did not hesitate to leave for a while in immersion in several regiments: “I felt like I was on a guided tour of an institution that wants to show that everything is fine. But in the evening, after creating a relationship of trust, after drinking a few beers, I was able to talk to soldiers“, tells us Thibault Valetoux, whom Première met at the Series Mania festival. “The idea was not so much to ask them how Mali was, but more to bring out the human, the feelings about going far away, leaving the family behind…”

Sentinels actually shows the men and women of the French army, in the field, in overseas operations. Their way of dealing with the situation. And without taboos, without complacency, the series tries to transcribe the complications inherent in this mission: “The Malians had asked France to intervene in 2013, but they had simply asked for air support! France demanded to intervene on the ground. And by dint of watching reports, in immersion with the troops, we started to say to ourselves that nothing is actually moving on the spot, despite the beautiful announcements“, analyzes the co-creator Frédéric Krivine. “And we ended up asking ourselves, like one of our characters: What the hell are we doing over there? This is a question that has imposed itself on us!

Review: Sentinels, a series on a mission

Then how Sentinels will be received by the French army and those who compose it? The two creators are not very worried: “We don’t want to prejudge how it’s going to be received and besides, we don’t want to offend anyone in the military… Afterwards, some will tear their hair out seeing what we’re making our characters do, since ‘we are really into fiction. But on the merits, on what we say about Mali, about France’s role there, the military will mostly agree with us”, assures Thibault Valetoux, while Frédéric Krivine confirms:

“Yes, the majority will agree with the ideology of the series, but it will inevitably be difficult to assume… They will probably point out technical transgressions that we have allowed ourselves or will highlight the fact that the army is now much more cautious in the political resonances of its actions. Because of the media coverage: the image of the action is more important than the action itself these days. But we, we do drama, so we obviously romanticize things. If you want to see something more naturalistic about the army, you have to see the film My Legionnaire, by Rachel Lang (2021). It’s a truly realistic approach, almost documentary…”

Sentinels – season 1 in 7 episodes – to see on OCS from April 5, 2022.

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