15 September 2020

Join In The Fight That Will Give You The Right To Be Free

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So I went to the cinema to see a film about the French called Les Misérables, although I should clarify that it wasn't the one about the cunt who stole a loaf of bread. Instead, this was a modern-day cop drama thing that tries to draw attention to a certain part of life and in a certain part of France. The title seems pretty apt to me though because whenever I see the French I do think 'oh look, there are the Miserables'. For me, the question isn't about why this film is called Les Misérables but rather as to why all the other french movies aren't called that as well. Except maybe Amelie which should probably just have been called The Upbeat Gnome Thief. I should clarify that I've never actually been to France and I haven't met a single french person since I was in school and they wheeled one out in class to help us learn their language. But when did that ever stop a Brit from making an unfounded and xenophobic judgement on an entire country? I can confirm that the individual in school did not find it funny when I suggested the french word for ' the pub' might, in fact, be 'la pube' and so you know. Fuck'em. They say that french is the language of love and yet every single one of their words sounds like they gave up about halfway through and just started fucking vomiting. “Bonjurghhh”, they might say before doubling over and expelling out what looks like liquid cheese. “Sacreblurrrgghh”, another will respond as a chewed up frogs leg spews back out of their mouth in a semi-digested green paste. French might be the language of love but only if the thing that you love is to be face down in the fucking toilet as your partner holds your hair back and you have to catch a breath between the fucking dry heaves. 

Was that all sounding a bit too Brexity? I guess I should balance that out now by saying that I really did enjoy the film and not simply because its final act ended with a riot. I don't know what it is about the French but nobody seems to be able to smash up their own country better than they do. When we have a riot over here in the UK, a few people will gather en mass with a sign that says some scientifically indisputable fact like “fuck the Tories”, and that will be the end of it. Everybody will ultimately get ignored and whatever bullshit was being protested against will carry on regardless. In fact, I literally got home from Asda before and saw that somebody had written “White Lives Matter”, on the inside of the cubical door in the shop's toilets. I don't know if that counts as much of a protest but based on its location it's always nice to be reminded that racists are indeed full of shit. But in France, they really don't fuck about when it comes to protesting. They're the equivalent of a mad drunk who decides to set his flat on fire to protest his landlords rising monthly rent costs but after having forgotten to take their own possessions out of the building first. Fair play to them. I admire that level of dedication to their anger. In the film we see a rookie cop joining forces with a crack team of experienced fascists and struggling to fit in because he actually seems to give a shit about the people that he's been tasked with policing. Imagine that. I'm sure the authority doesn't go to all members of the police's heads, although a friend of mine was once choke slammed for bunking off school when we were kids, after one officer had failed to remember that it was the fucking weekend.

This team of three that the new cop is now a part of spend their time patrolling a shanty-looking town in the eastern suburbs of Paris which, according to Wikipedia, is about ten miles from the city centre. Although Wikipedia also essentially describes the place as a shit hole and so I'd look a little more into it before you decide it's only a train ride from the capital and book a night in its Le Travelodge. Problems arrive in the film when a local gang of gypsies have their baby lion stolen, with them believing it to have been taken by one of the area's other local gangs. Although this film might have an air of social realism about it, I guess occasionally the crimes that take place in France might also sound like they could also have taken place in fucking Narnia. I can't wait for the sequel to this movie in which hostilities between two rival factions begin to escalate with each blaming the other for it being always Winter, but never Christmas. The three cops decide to step in here and investigate before things turn too ugly, only to discover that the young animal was taken by one of the local kids. It's actually really cool watching how they work on a day to day basis to be honest, because I'd just assumed that most crimes were solved by looking at some CCTV footage and shouting, “enhance” until the face of the perp became crystal clear. Apparently, in real life, they just keep refreshing their various social media accounts after searching a few key case related words and whilst waiting for the dipshit involved to start posting about their crime. If only this had been possible to do throughout history we might have been able to stop somebody like Ed Gein a little sooner after snooping out the suspicious-looking lampshades, belts, and bowls for sale on his fucking Etsy channel. 

I have to say too that the film does do an incredible job of giving a sense of place, to the point that after the film was over I felt perfectly justified in giving my one-star review of the area on TripAdvisor. At last, I can really understand why all of those soldiers were so fucking desperate to get out of France during the Dunkirk evacuation. The tensions between the various gangs are quite high, the tension between the gangs and the cops are quite high, and the tensions between the pre-existing cops and the new one that's just joined are all high. If anything I'd argue that the only way to calm down from this movie after it's over is to find your local drug dealer and attempt to get quite high yourself. The film starts out by giving a rough collaged impression of what life in that town is like before subtly building up its various plot threads and then aiming them at each other until the chaos is unavoidable. If you'd shoved a lump of coal up my arse as I'd walked into the cinema then by the end the tension had gotten so much that I'd have walked out shitting diamonds. Such is the arrogance of me that I genuinely can't remember if that coal to diamond via a tight anus thing is a joke I've come up with, or a commonly used phrase? So maybe the French and I aren't so different after all because they're always portrayed as being a country of arrogant motherfuckers too. Is that what this film is about? That despite everybody's various agendas and world views and job roles, that we're all ultimately just people? I don't know. Probably. Or perhaps it's that poverty breeds desperation and under those circumstances, there are always good people that will get hurt? This certainly seems to be backed up by the aftermath of chaos and collateral damage in Asda earlier when I saw a middle-aged Mum almost chin some fucking kids for taking the last tub of smart-price cheese-spread. 

At the end of the day, I suppose that cinema is often claimed to be an empathy machine and I fail to see how anybody could watch this film and not feel for all the people involved. It's a pressure-cooker environment and so Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, it feels inevitable that the people living there will allow their anger to get the better of them. It's what happens when people are pushed to the limit without any reasonable way of having their protests heard, I suppose. It's just such a shame that they have to be pushed so far before they explode. I'm from a relatively middle-class background and even I'm now at the point in which I'm beginning to fantasise about owning a fucking guillotine. But even the most fascist of the cops becomes sympathetic here when you conclude that he probably acts the way that he does because of his tiny French penis. I have no evidence to back that claim up of course, but come on! Apparently, since its release, French President Emmanuel Macron has declared himself to be shocked by the things that he saw on screen and so set about trying to find a plan to help the real area before it's too late. Maybe he's just saying that to keep his voters happy whilst doing absolutely fuck all about it. But it'd be nice to imagine a perfect world in which a film as powerful and worthwhile as this could make a difference. I actually sat next to an MP at a screening of Ken Loaches working-class misery-fest I, Daniel Blake a few years back. His name was Frank Field and whilst watching this story of less privileged people being forced to resort to food banks I heard him lean over to the person he was with and announce, “I think we'll get a chippy on the way home”. And I thought, “get in the fucking guillotine you cunt”. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time. 

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