?Revenge of the Electric Car? debuts in Europe

The critically acclaimed movie “Revenge of the Electric Car” debuts in Europe this week as a featured documentary in the Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville. (Click here for the full schedule.)

“Revenge” follows Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and other protagonists in their quest to commercialize electric vehicles. The crew gained unprecedented access for three years inside Nissan, from the board room to the factory floor as engineers, executives and assembly workers brought the electric car Nissan LEAF from concept to reality.

Written and directed by California filmmaker Chris Paine, “Revenge” has been the surprise darling of the spring and summer film festival circuit. It’s a colourful, personality-driven story about what it takes to lead an automaker – but it’s less about cars or technology and more about determination, vision and willpower. The movie also introduces viewers to charismatic electric car fans who, before the launch of the Nissan LEAF in late 2010, had little choice but to convert their conventional cars to electric cars.

“With unprecedented insider access, Paine presents a film that is less an environmental jeremiad than a portrait of the automotive industry as it seeks to catch up with the 21st century,” wrote Vanity Fair. The Hollywood Reporter called it “fascinating … a hugely entertaining portrait.”

The Nissan LEAF is the first zero-emission vehicle from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which dedicated €4 billion to develop the world’s first full lineup of electric vehicles. Renault’s Fluence ZE, Kangoo ZE and Twizy make their debuts stating later this year.

“Revenge” follows Chris Paine’s cult-hit documentary from 2006, “Who Killed the Electric Car? ” Paine’s first movie chronicled the crushing demise of General Motors’ ill-fated EV1, which GM forced drivers to relinquish. GM then crushed nearly all the EV1s, prompting fans to hold a candlelight vigil and pray for the EV’s return.

“Revenge” debuts in Europe this week at the 37th annual Deauville American Film Festival, with screenings Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Paine is in Deauville for the showings.

Next month, “Revenge” begins a nationwide rollout in the USA, with showings in more than 20 cities. (Click here for the full US schedule.)

Our favourite screening: In Amsterdam, "Revenge” premiers Sept. 16 at a drive-in movie event that’s expected to attract the first 100 LEAFs delivered in the Netherlands. Clearly the audience will be all charged up!