Panorama | Spotlight on France
Proving once again that it’s not what you do but the way that you do it, this adolescent love story set on the backstreets of Marseille thrums with authentic energy and brio. Not for nothing has Jean-Bernard Marlin’s gritty drama racked up a long string of rave reviews on home turf ("Incandescent," "Electrifying," "Staggering"), culminating in the Prix Jean Vigo for the best feature of the year.
Sixteen-year-old Zachary (Dylan Robert) gets out of juvenile detention but is soon back on the streets with his gang, who drop him off with a prostitute, Shéhérazade (Kenza Fortas). He recognizes her from school. She accepts payment in hash, then refuses to sleep with him, which only enflames his interest. Eventually Zach is forced to choose between his loyalty to this friends and his feelings for the girl.
A "Marseillais" himself, Marlin spent eight months workshopping with local youths to cast the film, and he picked a live-wire in Robert, who makes the reckless, funny Zach unexpectedly charismatic, while Fortas brings out depth and sensitivity as the hardboiled Shéhérazade.
Prix Jean Vigo 18