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May 29
The Barbarity of World-Cities ONLINE EVENT Columbia University, Maison Française

Les Misérables

2019 - France - 104 min.

The monthly French Cinémathèque Series at the Avalon Theatre, in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, presents the screening of Les Misérables by Ladj Ly.

Tensions between violent cops and neighbourhood youth explode in this fiery, Cannes Jury Prize-winning film from director Ladj Ly, who brings the spirit of Victor Hugo to the Parisian suburbs.

In Montfermeil, where Hugo set his original Les Misérables, Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) a cop newly recruited to the anti-criminal brigade finds himself on a team whose questionable methods lead them into direct conflict with the neighbourhood gangs in their jurisdiction. When an arrest turns violent, events boil over into a dramatic clash that threatens to burn the suburb to the ground.

Inspired by the riots of 2005, Ladj Ly (co-director of the movie Speak Up) makes his kinetic feature debut with a powerful, thrilling work that swings between brutal social realism and moments of electric melodrama. Les Misérables critiques systemic corruption and explores the fraught tension between cops and teenagers with a sensitivity to the complicated perspectives at play on both sides.

Les Misérables was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. It was selected as the French entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. It is also 11 times nominee for the César Awards. 

In French with English subtitles