COLCOA—the annual French film festival in Los Angeles—gets off to a dynamic start this week with the local premiere of Ladj Ly’s acclaimed banlieue drama LES MISÉRABLES, which won the Prix du jury at the 2019 Festival de Cannes and will represent France at the Academy Awards in February.
Inspired by the work of Spike Lee, Jacques Audiard, Raymond Depardon, and Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine, Ly’s debut feature tracks the power games and unchecked aggression between the gangs of Clichy-Montfermeil and three of the cops—played by Djebril Zonga, Alexis Manenti, and Damien Bonnard—attached to the district. Jeanne Balibar co-stars as the police chief.
It’s easy to live with each other when you have money. When you don’t, it’s a lot more complicated: you need compromises, arrangements, little deals… It’s a matter of survival. For the cops too, they are in survival mode. [With] LES MISÉRABLES, I’ve tried to be as fair as possible… I was ten years old when I was first stopped and searched by the police, which tells you how well I know cops, how long I’ve lived close by them. — Ladj Ly
On opening night, the director will be joined by cast members Zonga and Bonnard for a post-screening conversation. Bonnard will return on Friday for the encore presentation.
Monday, September 23, at 7:30 pm.
Friday, September 27, at 5 pm.
Directors Guild of America
7920 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.
Ladj Ly, Les Misérables (2019), stills, from top: 2018 World Cup victory celebration in Paris, which opens the film; Damien Bonnard (left), Alexis Manenti, and Djebril Zonga; banlieue residents; Zonga, in front of wall mural by JR—part of the artist’s 28 Millimètres, Portrait of a Generation series—depicting Ladj Ly holding video camera; confrontation between Manenti and banlieue resident; young actors; film scene. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the producers, Wild Bunch, and Amazon Studios.