Director: Jérôme Salle
A ‘kompromat’ is damaging information about a politician, a businessperson, or other public figure, which may be used to create negative publicity, as well as for blackmail, often to exert influence rather than monetary gain, and extortion.
You may have heard it used in relation to the suspicions of Russia having sway over Donald Trump, allowing Putin to exert a certain influence in Trump's time as President.
‘Kompromat’, the movie, is based on true events and is a thrilling espionage film depicting the terrifying story of a French public servant based in Siberia who finds himself framed by Russia's FSB (the modern KGB).
Imagine going about your life and suddenly having your door kicked in, hearing your young daughter screaming, having a sack shoved roughly over your head, then being handcuffed, beaten and pushed into a van.
You then find you have been accused of molesting your daughter and that you are being tried for paedophilia. You are thrown into a prison with thugs who you know will beat and possibly rape you … and no one can help you, neither your government nor your friends. And, as insanely, you are just a regular Joe, a loving dad, a cultural attaché of the French Government, basically a government boffin who can't understand what is happening.
Mathieu (Gilles Lellouche) plays the diplomat who accepts a posting as head of Siberia’s Alliance Française. He puts on the wrong ballet, he dances with the wrong girl, and suddenly he finds himself in a nightmare that would send most of us into suicide mode.
Mathieu resourcefully manages to make a run for it when Russia’s top barrister who has been employed by the French Government embraces Mathieu – to avoid being overheard – and advises him that if he has the balls he had better run as it is already known he will get 14 years … essentially he will never leave Siberia as he will be murdered in prison.
‘Kompromat’ is a tale of what we are capable of when we have no choice, like the Ukrainians who are living in the rubble of broken cities with no fresh food or water, pushing back the Russian troops, or all the political refugees who take dangerous journeys, having no idea where those journeys will end.
‘Kompromat’ is also a tale of cultural difference. Harsh conditions and harsh politics create brutality, and a population that is aware of its leaders’ all-powerfulness.
When Mathieu eventually makes it to the French embassy in Moscow his presence is seen as an irritant, a negative on the relationship that has been built between the two countries. Despite his innocence it is suggested that he goes back and serves the first few months of his sentence and the Government will ensure that he will spend the remainder of the sentence in France, an offer that Mathieu knows is a death sentence. He spits at the ambassador that the Russian political establishment believe the French to be cowards in conflict and that he agrees with them.
You’ll be shocked, on the edge of your seats and totally engrossed by this true story that is one of pure desperation driving an unbelievable escape.