Part of Victor Hugo’s 19th-century classic Les misérables was set in Montfermeil, a Parisian suburb where Malinese Ladj Ly grew up and where he filmed the riots that would spread to banlieues across France in 2005. In his feature film debut, tensions rise in Les Bosquets, a neighbourhood of run-down tower blocks. Cop Stéphane, who had himself transferred from the countryside to Montfermeil, experiences his first day on the beat in this restless district. It becomes a baptism of fire with two colleagues who have their own methods.
Ly was clearly inspired by Mathieu Kassovitz's La haine (1995), the film that made him decide to become a filmmaker. Little has improved in the banlieues Ly reveals with this intense, explosive drama that shared the Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.