A Darkish and Poetic French Crime Drama – Latest Hollywood News

With seven options to his title, Franco-Algerian director Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche nonetheless stays comparatively unknown to art-house moviegoers each at dwelling and overseas.

And but, ever since his 2001 debut, Wesh, Wesh, What’s Occurring?, he’s been one of the vital fascinating and persistently stunning auteurs to emerge from France these previous twenty years. Every new movie, whether or not set within the current (Adhen) or previous (The Smugglers’ Songs), the Paris banlieue (Wesh, Wesh) or an Algerian village (Bled Quantity One), provides one thing unique to a physique of labor that may be a perpetual experiment in narrative cinema, blurring the strains between fiction, documentary, actuality, fantasy and historical past in methods few administrators presently do.

The Temple Woods Gang

The Backside Line

A rewarding thriller through which crime would not pay.

Venue: Berlin Worldwide Movie Pageant (Discussion board)
Forged: Régis Laroche, Philippe Petit, Marie Loustalot, Kenji Meunier, Salim Ameur-Zaïmeche, Kamel Mezdour
Director, screenwriter: Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche

1 hour 56 minutes

His newest, The Temple Woods Gang (Le Gang des Bois du Temple), is ostensibly a criminal offense thriller, with an English title that feels like an previous Western and a French title like that of an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album. In some ways, the movie follows the standard style template, monitoring a band of thieves from the titular housing undertaking — the Bois du Temple, positioned simply north of Paris in Clichy-sous-Bois — as they plan, execute after which severely pay the value for robbing a robust Center Japanese prince.

However that’s simply the story. What makes Zaïmeche’s work really feel so contemporary and intriguing is the best way he makes use of plot as a method to discover different issues, whether or not it’s improvising with a solid that mixes novice {and professional} actors or making moments of fiction really feel fully actual, as if he had captured them on the fly. His movies are additionally subtly, and typically overtly, political — particularly concerning the restricted place French society gives individuals, such because the director himself, of African or North African origin who grew up within the banlieue.

That theme may be very a lot on the middle of The Temple Woods Gang, whose plot was impressed by an actual incident that occurred in 2014 on the outskirts of Paris, when a gang of criminals robbed a Saudi convoy en path to a non-public jet. The identical factor occurs right here, with small-time thief Bébé (Philippe Petit) and his 5 buddies (Kenji Meunier, Salim Ameur-Zaïmeche, Kamel Mezdour, Nassim Zazoui and Rida Meszdour) from Bois du Temple teaming as much as take down the SUV of a dirty wealthy prince (Mohamed Aroussi) and his native fixer (Lucius Barre).  

The gang’s story is bookended by that of their neighbor, Monsieur Pons (Régis Larcoche), a former military sniper from the identical housing undertaking who lives within the condominium of his mom, whose dying opens the film after which hovers over it like a foul omen. As boys from the hood, Pons and the robbers appear to go method again, exchanging niceties every time they run into one another on the road or in a bar. Ultimately their paths will cross in explosive methods that aren’t value spoiling, however suffice to say that the previous’s abilities as an professional marksman will turn out to be useful in some unspecified time in the future.

The freeway heist pulled off by Bébé and his gang goes off easily sufficient, however after that it’s all downhill. Just like the wave of blood that slowly washes over Macbeth after he kills the king, the vengeance enacted by the prince, who’s hoping to get well categorized paperwork that have been stolen together with all his money, is gradual and grotesque. It’s already method too late when the gang realizes they’ve been enjoying out of their league your entire time, and what started as an exhilarating theft ends in homicide and remorse.

Zaïmeche captures the violence briefly, jarring bursts of adrenaline, whereas sympathetically portraying the robbers as misguided males from a troublesome place, hoping to make higher lives for themselves and their households. They’re clearly no match for the wealth of the prince, which is far-reaching and unstoppable, requiring only some cellphone calls to be put into motion. As his loyal Paris-based fixer, Barre — who’s higher often called a global movie publicist and former press attaché for Cannes — downplays his function, delivering kill orders with a sort and calm demeanor as in the event that they have been no large deal.

The ethical of The Temple Woods Gang is bleak certainly: Crime doesn’t pay and capitalism often wins in the long run. The movie is haunting and creeps alongside slowly — maybe too slowly for some — arriving at a conclusion that appears inevitable, together with the trajectory of the neighbor, Pons. And but Zaïmeche fills his narrative with quiet moments of bliss as if stolen from actual life, whether or not it’s the fellows gathering at a café counter, studying a bedtime story to their kids or celebrating the early success of their stick-up.

There are two standout scenes which might be above all value mentioning, every of them involving stay music: The primary is on the funeral of Pons’ mom, the place an older girl (performed by real-life singer Annkrist) belts out a heartbreaking track that echoes all through the cathedral. The second is a late sequence the place Pons follows the prince to a nightclub, watching because the latter instantly will get up on stage, takes off his turban and does a mesmerizing, macabre dance throughout a live performance by Algerian Raï artist Sofiane Sadi.

Zaïmeche lets these scenes play out of their entirety, usurping plot and dialogue to concentrate on the fantastic thing about the performances, which solely serve to reinforce his movie’s message. He’s discovered purely sensory means to convey the heaviness of dying that reigns over The Temple Woods Gang from begin to end, and he does it in a method that’s each tragic and elegant.

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