NO REPORTER NARRATION.
Filmmaker Ladj Ly urged French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday (May 16) to watch his thriller about police violence, in the running for the top award at Cannes, as an insight into France's "yellow vest" street protests.
Set in a Paris suburb, "Les Miserables" tells the story of three policemen who scramble to cover their tracks and keep the peace after their arrest of a local teen spirals out of control and is recorded by a passing drone.
Ly's pulsating debut, selected for the main Palme D'Or competition, comes six months into a wave of sometimes violent French street demonstrations against high living costs and the perceived indifference of the ruling class.
The protests have drawn attention to police tactics including their use of flash-ball riot control guns.
"I'm sending a message to Emmanuel Macron: hear us.
And we'd like him to see the film so if he's prepared to let us into the Elysee Palace we're prepared to do a screening there," Ly told a news conference.
Set among sprawling housing estates where teenagers, the Muslim Brotherhood and migrant families are all trying to carve out territory, the film is at times bitingly funny.
Ly's choice of title makes clear that the theme is by no means a new one, either, and many of the scenes are shot in the Montfermeil neighbourhood that inspired the atmosphere of brewing revolution in Victor Hugo's epic novel of the 1830s.
(Production: Christian Levaux, Oliver Barth, Lisa Giles-Keddie)