Montfermeil is a Paris suburb teeming with life. It’s a place that in some contexts carelessly would be dismissed as a no go zone. Here lives Issa, a young boy that one day steals a lion cub from a local circus. The theft has major consequences and causes tension between the different groups of people living in the area. Not least in terms of the more or less hot-headed police officers assigned to search for Issa and the lion cub. Les Misérables places Victor Hugo’s classic novel to the hot summer of 2018 and the hangover from the men’s national team’s World Cup glory in football. The director Ladj Ly comes from the neighborhood himself and tells a contemporary story about social concern, police brutality, national identity and racism. The film has been selected as France’s official contender for the Academy Awards and it’s easy to see why. A more timely, thrilling and intense cinematic experience is hard to come by.
– Daniel Tollefsen Altamirano