02 September 2020, The Tablet

Adults behaving badly

by Isabelle Grey

Cinema

Adults behaving badly
 

Les Misérables
Director: Ladj ly

There are many different interest groups staking out territory in present day Montfermeil, the Parisian suburb where Victor Hugo set his 1862 novel, Les Misérables: drug-dealing gangs, devout Muslims, the local mayor and his acolytes chiselling a profit out of market traders, volatile circus people, the police and – overlooked by all these adults – kids.

Writer-director Ladj Ly grew up in this neighbourhood and has been filming it since he was 17. Les Misérables (in French with subtitles), his debut as a feature director, Oscar-nominated and winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes, is a hymn to childhood and a condemnation of all the various “bad cultivators” (a quote from Hugo’s novel that closes the film) who betray the young – and who get their comeuppance.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading


Register for free to read this article in full


Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £21.50 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login