Rezo Films’ The Game Of Death causes storm in French media after airing on France 2 on March 17.

Rezo Films has caused a storm in France with the TV broadcast of its documentary The Game Of Death on March 17.

The film is the best rating documentary in France for the past 12 months, taking a 13.7% share, and it has caused an uproar across its national press today (March 18), and is now garnering interest from the international media, such as the BBC and Time Magazine.

The documentary, made by directors Thomas Bornot, Alain-Michel Blanc and Gilles Amado, updates a series of 1960s electric shock experiments carried out by Yale professor Stanley Milgram to study authority and obedience.

Milgram’s original experiment used two ordinary people – one asking questions and other responding, who was given a list of words to memorise. The respondent was then strapped into a device that provided an electric shock if he was unable to recall any of the terms. The electric shock was administered by the questioner for every wrong answer in increasing charges of up to 450 volts.

In the documentary, the film-makers updated the experiment, transferring it to the set of a TV game show and selecting candidates from a casting call. The participants believe they are taking part in a test episode for a new show but, unknown to them, an actor, who is hidden off-set, is playing the role of respondent.

The show’s host encouraged the contestants to continue administering shocks of increasing voltage for every wrong answer provided by the respondent. Disturbingly, despite the screams of protest heard from the respondent, 81% of the contestants carry on sending shocks up to the end of the range.

Rezo, which launched sales of the film at Berlin, has sold it to Wild Bunch in Germany and has had interest from the US as well as a handful of UK companies seeking to acquire adaptation rights.