“Athena”, on Netflix, turns the city into a war zone

Co-founder in 1994 of the Kourtrajmé association, which works to spread the practice of cinema to populations that do not have access to it, Romain Gavras, son of the filmmaker and president of La Cinémathèque française Gavras coast, also develops an activity as a director of clips and advertising films, as well as a work of fiction. He is, in this last position, the author of three feature films made in the space of twelve years. After our day will come (2010), radicalization of waltzes short path of hatred of two madmen who hit everything that moves, then The world is Yours (2018), a black comedy that makes its honey from the rude stupidity of its protagonists, we discover it today athenaproduced and broadcast on the Netflix platform starting Friday, September 23.

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The film, which turns a city into the scene of an armed insurrection after the police caused the death of a teenager there, revives a tradition of French cinema that goes from Hatred (1995), for Mathieu Kasovitza miserable (2019), by Ladj Ly, via My 6-T is going to break (1997), for Jean Francois RichetY dheepan (2015), by Jacques Audiard. Precisely co-written with ladj ly, athena It is of all these titles the one that takes the ball the most towards war cinema. We will not find there, unfortunately, this depth, both of the characters and of the feelings at stake in The Miserablesthat allowed the viewer to understand the outbursts of violence.

It is an inverse cause defended by Romain Gavras, who seems to want to place himself, as so often, in a state beyond the principle of causality, in a state of anger and exasperation that is there from the beginning because, he lets us suppose, the dikes would have given up a long time ago. Violence first, therefore, reflection later, if possible. The film defined as a stick of dynamite. The fuse is the death of a young man killed by the police. The setting is that of the city of Athena. The reference is that of the classic tragedy, with the three brothers of the deceased who each embody a supposed generational response to the death of his younger brother.

spectacular drunkenness

Moktar (Ouassini Embarek), the eldest, is a cocaine dealer to the core who only cares about himself and sows terror in the city. Abdel (Dali Benssalah) chose the path of integration and became a soldier. Karim (Sami Slimane), the youngest, takes the lead in the riot led by the youngest. These three will meet at various points in the film to determine trailers and forks. But under these tinsel, we feel that what Romain Gavras is interested in is the scene of the explosion, that is, the staging of pure action and the aestheticization of violence. That give rise to pieces of courage. The preliminary invasion of the police station by young people organized in a commando style. The city filmed as an ancient citadel besieged by the dark mass of law enforcement. Chases in the labyrinths. Recurring scares.

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