‘Les misérables’

Powerful and confronting, winner of numerous awards including the Cannes Jury Prize, Les misérables takes no prisoners in the tensions on the Montfermil housing estate in Paris.

Brigadier Stéphane Ruiz (Damien Bonnard – Dunkirk, The French Dispatch) is transferred from the provinces and is shocked by the antagonism and simmering violence on the estate. Headed by the explosive Chris (Alexis Manenti – Enquête sur un scandale d’État, Dans la brume), the confrontational anti-crime brigade is as much part of the problem as the out-of-control youth. When the attempted arrest of the troublesome Issa goes terribly wrong, the various gangs erupt into violent reaction.

Based loosely on the Paris riots of 2005, Les misérables is a profound exploration of tensions around identity, race and marginalisation. Working with a predominantly non-professional cast, director Ladj Ly, in his directorial feature film debut, builds a gritty tension so taut it requires only a moment to make it snap.

Nominated for the 2020 best foreign language film.

Rating: 83%

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