In the presence of: Alexis Manenti, Almamy Kanouté, Al-Hassan Ly, Issa Perica
'Les Misérables' has borrowed not only its title from Victor Hugo's novel of hardship but also the feelings of anger and abandonment towards those in charge and the physical setting of the Parisian suburb, Montfermeil. The story is set in 2018 and documents 24 hours in the lives of Montfermeil locals. The story takes off with policeman Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) joining Montfermeil's Anti-Crime Squad. Working alongside his experienced colleagues, Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djibril Zonga), he's a firsthand witness to rising tensions between local gangs. One day the three cops are overrun in the course of an arrest, an incident that is filmed by a drone. This footage now threatens to expose the harsh reality of daily life in the banlieues. Based on Ly's 2017 short film of the same name, 'Les Misérables' reflects on the French riots of 2005 and the difficult coexistence of police and residents in impoverished areas. Ladj Ly has long been interested in showing the reality of life in Montfermeil, the director's hometown. In 'Les Misérables', he showcases different ethnic, racial and social groups of the suburb through an objective camera lens. While no one is guiltless, no one is judged harshly. This aim for objectivity, to show and not judge, reveals Ly's background as a documentary maker.