“Athena”, the new film by Romain Gavras, breaks the melancholy of the Parc aux lièvres, a neighborhood of Evry whose destruction is approaching

Building 7 in the Parc district, in Evry (Essonne), on July 6, 2019.

Molotov cocktails, urban rodeos, clashes between neighborhood youth and the police, on the verge of civil war: welcome to Atenea. A fictional suburban neighborhood that gives its name to the new blockbuster by Romain Gavras, which premieres this Friday, September 23 on Netflix.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers “Athena”, on Netflix, turns the city into a war zone

In real life, we are far from this effervescence. The concrete slab on top of the Parc aux lièvres, Evry-Courcouronnes district (Essonne), which hosted the shoot, is often deserted. All the shops have their curtains down, some wild grasses invite themselves onto the gray plain, a bicycle dangles from the balcony of a lifeless building.

An iconic district of the city, celebrated in hip-hop culture, known in recent years for having seen rapper Koba LaD grow up, the place is in decline. The vast majority of the inhabitants have left the facility and have been relocated, in anticipation of the slab’s destruction in 2023. As the film arrives on Netflix, the Hare Park district is experiencing its swan song.

“We liked it a lot”

The destruction of the buildings surrounding the slab has been planned since 2017 and has been carried out since 2018. As every year since then, at the level of the tunnel under the slab, the Mémoire du Parc aux lièvres collective organizes a party to bring together the former inhabitants of the “PAL”. Many have seen the place deteriorate in recent years. “Since we know that the slab is going to be destroyed, there is no one left. The atmosphere of the neighborhood has nothing to do with it”laments Thibault (people whose name only appears declined to give their names), 17, who grew up in the Parc aux lièvres.

Among the oldest, sometimes present since 1972 and the creation of the slab, it is nostalgia that speaks. “I spent the best thirty years of my life there. This future destruction makes me very sad.” admits Yvon Perrot, the district’s first inhabitant and local legend. The 85-year-old left building 3 on the slab a few years ago to settle a little further afield in Corbeil-Essonnes. Like others, he remembers the fountain that was destroyed, the bakery, the café, the shoe store, the bank, which was closing down, competing with the Ágora, the great shopping center of Évry.

“The public authorities have taken it upon themselves to tire the neighborhood in order to dismantle it,” says Lahssen, a resident of the neighborhood

Nobody denies the problem that could have been here or the “some youth nonsense”, but the problems of the place are quickly erased from memory. We only keep this ” small town “as they all say in chorus, abandoned by the public authorities. “They made sure to tire the neighborhood out so they could break it up”, thinks Lahssen, like many of his neighbors. With a side question: Will this destruction and renovations solve all of the district’s problems? The locals doubt it.

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