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:: La Ville Est Tranquille (The Town Is Quiet)

A baby born of a heroin prostitute grew healthy sleeping outside the womb of her poisoned mother in La Ville Est Tranquille. A reformed criminal will not live long in harsh Marseilles society. A young musician's quest to own a grand piano is complete with love story in present day France. Robert Guediguian presents several illustrations of different parts of the new world France, whose paths come close to meeting. These stories are presented as separate, and combine in tangents. Each character is dependent on another as extras to their fate. Differences in class are based on occupation, while a middle-aged racist political party rises against the united colours of the working class French youth. New and old France is compared as an older generation comes to terms with a new society.

The worker is idolised in the portrayal of French society where the middle class and lower intercept. We meet unionists and hear workers’ anthem sung by one character. The hardworking female fishmonger and the other dockworkers that took redundancy packages show the value of work. The retired man becomes househusband to keep busy, and his wife becomes bored on crosswords and daytime television. In the lower class, a single mother works two jobs including night shift, as the responsible provider, while her unemployed partner drinks idly on the dole.

The less respected occupation of prostitution is portrayed from the side of the worker, as an act of desperation as a result of drug dependency. Street workers are a common part of this story, on street corner display, and invited to high society parties. A middle-aged man is observed to frequent prostitutes, alongside dating an attractive younger woman. His empathy for the plight of a middle-aged prostitute forms a love story born out of class guilt. A married politician is also seen to use prostitutes.

We meet the evil of drug addiction and share the demands of a close family member on heroin. Reality is shown via days of shaking need, persistent demands for drugs, and depression compared to drug euphoria. The film includes a lesson in using the syringe to shoot up.

A new racism rises born out of a collective of unemployed and businessmen and women, protecting white France. Black, Arab, Asian and Arian French people are labelled. Sexual preference is used twice to illustrate a need to keep races separate from interbreeding. An Arian French youth has prejudice against them in payment for racist ethos. An Arabic man is pressured for not desiring the wares of an Arian female prostitute. A black is killed in a political racist dispute.

Music is used as therapy. Young men freestyle political protests about Marseilles society, until a shooting made men of the black rappers. Traditional French music is set against the sleaze and nostalgia of Western Music, as Janis Joplin Summertime and Crybaby remind us of a romance past for the middle-aged.
Look out for musical recitals, decor similarities and name parallels.

Screening at Lumiere Cinemas