Director Paul Greengrass slams far-right politics and hopes “22 July” will inspire activism


The new Paul Greengrass film, “22 July,” available now on Netflix, tells the story of Norway’s horrific terror attack that left 77 dead in 2011 at the hands of right-wing extremist Anders Breivik. In signature Greengrass style, defined by previous films like “Captain Phillips” and “United 93,” the Academy Award-nominated writer and director depicts terrorism and its aftermath in a way that he hopes will inspire action.

“22 July,” Greengrass explained on “Salon Talks,” serves as a metaphor for how young people have the power to define how democratic nations will shut down the spread of far-right movements and actors. “If young people start to give up on democratic norms, we'll be in a world of pain as our parents and grandparents found in the thirties. That's why I made the film,” Greengrass told Salon’s executive editor Andrew O’Hehir.

The film is based on the non-fiction book "One of Us" by Asne Seierstad, and highlights the dangers of far-right ideologies. “He [Breivik] was a dedicated neo-Nazi essentially who believed that he was creating the right wing 9-11, that was his vision of it, and he would raise a standard that others would follow,” Greengrass explained.

“Given the explosive rise of the violent far right in Europe, also in North America incubated inside the vast populist movement that's blowing like a typhoon through all the democracies, he's maybe not wrong in that.”

But Greengrass is hopeful that future generations will become more involved politically. “Young people are realizing that they have to engage if these ideas are to be defeated,” Greengrass continued, referencing the activism of survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.

Watch the interview above to hear Greengrass’ analysis of Brexit, Trump’s impact on global politics, and how it all ties into the film. “22 July” is available to stream now on Netflix and also showing in select theaters.

Subscribe to SalonTV’s YouTube Channel to watch SalonTV's live interview and music shows "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," airing daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. Click here to watch more “Salon Talks” interviews.

About “Salon Talks”: Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on YouTube and Salon.com.

More From This Week on SalonTV