In the 1970s, France’s most successful cinematic products were its socially-committed political thrillers. This French style of crime cinema has made a monumental comeback over the past decade. The films in the Criss-Cross programme depict France as a battlefield: the police and organised crime skirmish in every major city, serial killers are a metaphor for a society on the verge of dissolution and the bourgeois family has become a prison that requires constant negotiation between prisoners and guards. The programme will open with the world premiere of Éric Valette’s Le serpent aux mille coupures (France, 2017) adaptation of the eponymous novel by successful author-scriptwriter DOA that deals with racism and terrorism in France’s countryside. The programme will screen work by France’s new generation of genre directors from Mathieu Kassovitz (L'ordre et la morale; 2011) via Olivier Marchal (36 Quai des Orfèvres; 2004) to Fred Cavayé (Mea Culpa; 2014) and Julien Leclercq (Braqueurs; 2015). Criss-Cross will also lend a voice to more left-wing filmmakers with a slightly different take on these things, such as Olivier Masset-Depasse (Sanctuaire; 2015). These works by their very nature attempt to bridge the cultural and political divide through entertaining as well as enlightening narratives aimed at a general audience. A reminder of the fact that cinema is still capable of analysing – and sometimes even changing – the world we live in.

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Criss-Cross: Gangland, copland, terrorland

Films in this programme