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Director Ladj Ly On Real-Life Inspirations Behind “Les

Director Ladj Ly (Photo by Megan Mack for TheWrap)

When French director Ladj Ly was 17 years previous, he purchased a digicam and started to doc interactions with the police in his neighborhood of Montfermeil in Paris, ultimately capturing an actual incident of police brutality that led to the suspension of the officers in query.

These experiences fashioned the idea for Ly’s first characteristic movie “Les Misérables,” which gained the Grand Jury Prize on the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 and has already earned a response from French president Emmanuel Macron himself.

“I want to tell about life there from the inside, without casting any judgement and without taking sides. As is clear, this is not an anti-cop film,” Ly stated via an interpreter at a Q&A following a screening of the movie in New York City on Monday night time. “The goal here was to humanize every character, whether it’s the dealers, the religious figures, or the cops… these are not mere black and white figures.”

Inspired by the 2005 riots in opposition to the police within the Paris suburbs, “Les Misérables” follows three members of an anti-crime brigade and their interactions with youngsters and adults within the neighborhood over the course of a 24-hour interval. The movie stars Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djibril Zonga.

All of the kids within the movie have been forged from the neighborhood — together with Ly’s son, taking part in a younger boy who paperwork an altercation between the police and neighborhood boys together with his drone– and none had skilled appearing expertise.

Ly stated that the movie is meant as a “cry of warning” to French politicians to point out them what life is admittedly like in neighborhoods reminiscent of Montfermeil.

“I primarily wanted to bear witness to things, so everything you see on the screen happened to me or people who are close to me or inhabitants of the neighborhood,” he stated. “This is a universal subject. Police brutality is a problem not just in France, not just in the United States… I think this is a great opportunity to talk about these problems and have the message be heard.”

The movie has already been proven in additional than 20 international locations, together with France and the United States, and Ly was even invited to see the movie on the Élysée, France’s presidential residence — although he turned down the invitation and invited Macron to Montfermeil as a substitute.

“Last week we read in the press that [Macron] had seen the film, and was incredibly moved by it and is trying to put measures to change things in these neighborhoods,” Ly stated. “So we’ll see what happens.”

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