Paris (AFP)

The Cannes Film Festival's punch has already been sold in more than 50 countries: more than 20 years after "La Haine", "Les Misérables" by Ladj Ly, theatrical Wednesday in France, paints a relentless picture suburbs, in a film in the form of "cry of alarm".

The action may well take place in Montfermeil, near Paris - as part of Victor Hugo's "Misérables" - "it's a film that is universal," said Ladj Ly at AFP at the Los Angeles Film Festival dedicated to French cinema, running in September.

"The misery is in the four corners of the world, we can be in the United States, in Brazil in the favelas, or in South Africa, so it's a film that should speak to the greatest number," he explained. .

Yet in May, the director did not believe it too much. Already surprised to be competing in Cannes against such sacred monsters as Quentin Tarantino or Terrence Malick, he was amazed by the reception given to his film during the official screening, crowned by a long ovation ... before leaving a few days later with the Jury Prize, ex-aequo with the Brazilian "Bacurau".

Since then, the adventure continues throughout the world: Amazon bought the rights for the United States, the film is sold in more than fifty territories and chose to represent France at the Oscars.

- Next day of victory -

"Les Miserables" tells the story of a police bust in a sensitive city of Seine-Saint-Denis, through the fate of "Pento" (Damien Bonnard), a police officer who arrives at the anti-crime squad, in full summer, the day after the victory of the Blues.

His first hours with his teammates - Chris (Alexis Manenti) and "Gwada", from neighborhoods (Djebril Zonga) - are like hazing and make him discover the city, its rites, its codes and its representatives, before that she does not turn into violence.

The opportunity to paint a striking picture of a society, "so far, so close" to Paris, with young people - "microbes" - who wander without a future perspective, the Muslim Brotherhood who provide advice to small , gypsies ready to fight, residents to calm tensions ...

For his first feature film, the 39-year-old director wanted to avoid clichés on the outskirts, choosing not to rap, nor show drugs or weapons. With the idea of ​​being at the right: "neither pro-banlieusards, nor anti-condés [anti-cops]".

- First a short film -

The man who grew up and lived in Clichy-Montfermeil first filmed his city, as a documentary filmmaker, after the riots of 2005, caused by the death of two teenagers.

In 2017, he tries the adventure of fiction with a short film, "Les Misérables" already, named to Caesar, which he took the plot for this feature-length film manifesto. Because, in the suburbs, the risk of explosion is more than ever there, according to him.

In the suburbs, "it's been 20 years that we are + yellow vests +, we claim rights, we suffer police violence and we take shots + + flashball," he told AFP at Cannes.

"We had a little overview with (the riots of) 2005. Fifteen years later, things have not really changed," said one who does not despair of showing his film to President Macron.

It is also with his band (Romain Gavras, Kim Chapiron, Mouloud Achour, Oxmo Puccino, the artist JR ...) that he climbed the steps to Cannes. The beginning of a coronation.

© 2019 AFP