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Ladj Ly · France · 2020 · 102 mins · 14A
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Academy Award Nominee: Best International Film

A crackling police thriller partly inspired by the civil unrest that swept through Paris in 2005. Les Misérables is a gripping feature debut for the French director Ladj Ly. The movie unfolds from the perspective of three cops trying to maintain order among warring factions in the Paris suburb of Montfermeil, only to find themselves mired in an explosive situation that threatens to escalate beyond repair. The title’s reference to Victor Hugo’s masterwork (much of which is set in Montfermeil) is neither an accident nor an afterthought. A closing quotation from Hugo lays bare the essence of Ly’s ideas on how systems of injustice maintain a chokehold on the city’s underclass. Ly dramatizes the scenes of street warfare with visceral force, making crucial use of a drone camera. It leaves us with a bracing vision of two sides that have trapped each other.—Los Angeles Times

“A visceral, street-wise portrait of those who abuse power, and those who demand it.” Associated Press
“A gripping experience.”
Cast Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Zonga
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