This Netflix drama eerily predicts recent riots in France

Although at the time of this writing, the 2023 riots in France have subsided in violence, it shows how terrifying it really is. Romain GavrasNetflix released Athena It is estimated that the civil unrest that occurred last week. On June 27, a French police officer unjustly killed a 17-year-old man. Nahel MerzoukA French child of Algerian and Moroccan descent, while he was driving a suspicious vehicle reportedly. The protest initially started in front of the police headquarters, only to turn into a riot that resulted in The nation is on fire, especially after video evidence contradicts the police officer’s testimony. . The event commemorated a number of protests against police brutality around the world, especially the George Floyd protests that began in 2020 at the beginning of lockdown measures following the outbreak of COVID-19. However, for France, civil unrest is almost an annual occurrence, partly because its police force is one of the most brutal in Europe, having been condemned five times in the last six years by the European Court of Human Rights for violations. Romain Gavras is willing to channel the public’s frustration with their supposed protectors into his incendiary sophomore feature. Athena.

Released on Netflix in 2022, Athena is a Greek tragedy, drama, and revolutionary film all rolled into one, following the murder of 13-year-old Algerian-French Idir at the hands of a police officer. Much of the tension surrounds Idir’s three brothers and their war with each other as a result. From their loyalty to their opposition. Abdel (Dali Benssalah), who opened the film, is a soldier aiming to quell the inevitable civil unrest, despite his relatives with the dead. Karim (Sami Slimane), the youngest brother still alive, who mobilizes the banlieues, leads the anti-militaristic movement against the police, his objective is for the police to reveal the name of those who killed Idir. Finally, there is Moktar (Ouassini Embarek), who cares less about the escalating civil war and more about getting his guns and drugs out of Karim’s pre-military restricted zone. Co-written by Gavras, Elias Belkeddar And Les Misérables Film maker Ladley (also inspired by the 2005 Paris riots), Athena is a constant pressure cooker waiting to explode in seemingly until finally, it does.

Related: 10 important films about the revolution

‘Athena’ features jaw-dropping cinematography

Sami Slimane and Dali Benssalah face off in 'Athena'
Image via Netflix

No talking about Athena without its open discussion. The term “stunning sight” is thrown around a lot, though Athena Received special praise for its longevity, even in the age of digital filmmaking where audience members are privileged to watch. Tom Cruise jumps to HALO in real life On the big screen. It’s not just that Athena It opens with a long 12 minutes, but that long actually starts on the outskirts of the police station, only to turn into a full riot in which Karim leads an army of youths to steal the police’s weapons. In the same shooting, they hijacked a police van to ride back to the banlieue, storming the block. tower, and fight constantly with camera movement with a Steadicam operator attached to Crane to get the final epic hero pose.

You’d think that after an amazing 12 minute opening the cast and crew could take a break but in Gavras’ own words, his camera crew (in this case, South Africans. Myron Mann) “Boring if there is no danger”. They maintained this incredible energy throughout the whole movie, with a long time showing a full-scale war between the youth and the police officers as they exchanged flares and Molotov cocktails with rubber bullets, firecrackers and tear gas. To add to the gruesome nature of the production, 80% of the film is reportedly shot in IMAX, which means the heavy cameras are very difficult to maneuver inside the tight spaces of the police van, especially when they are transferred from the moving vehicle. and motorcycles. In the Netflix show, Gavras said that he and his team only focus on finishing one picture a day, creating a strong unity about their goals and success. In addition, it also gives the audience a good idea for the small number of jaws used. A lot of time to be solved this subject that is not produced.

The resemblance is so strong that people confuse it with a real movie

athena netflix
Image via Netflix

But it’s not just the technical elements of Gavras and his team that deserve praise. It means nothing if it doesn’t capture the souls of millions of young people who are victims. of France’s increasingly brutal police force. Just last week, in the midst of riots, the members of the French parliament agreed to give the police the ability to spy on “suspect” citizens from a distance through their technological devices, giving them access to the cameras, microphones and GPS of ordinary people, concealment. which may be punished in the form of 5 years imprisonment. It’s a titanic violation of privacy and civil rights reminiscent of Batman’s use of SONAR Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. At the same time, it is worth remembering that France is a country that still suffers the consequences of His colonial history in the past. Battle of AlgiersEspecially on a large scale, the Algerian population is systematically suppressed.

With the spirit of the French protestors on full display in Romain Gavras’ epic, people online are actually sharing images from the film in droves that they believe are from the ongoing riots today. Unbelievable is the image shared from the zombie car stunts from The fate of the Furious, but the fact that these two highly choreographed actions can collect millions of shares on Twitter under the claim that they are real is evidence of the strife that exists in today’s political climate. Gavras makes a serious effort to express the anger of the youth, making sure that their revolution is justified and that its characters are all sympathetic. Adding to that sympathy are the three “help the cat” moments that Gavras integrates into his opening about Karim, in which, over a long period of time, the youth turned radical risking his life to help his friend from the police officer, calling for family peace. Moved out of the banlieue, and offered cigarettes to beggars, making sure his audience knew we were following good people.

Romain was not the only member of the Gavras family to champion the film revolution

Jean-Louis Trintignant Sitting at a Table in Z (1969)
Image via Valoria Films

The name Gavras is not necessarily a family, even among cinephiles, but it should be. Romain Gavras is not the first member of the family to star in revolutionary films. In fact, his father, Costa-GavrasA Greek political filmmaker in the 60s who was exiled from his country during the rise of the military dictatorship in 1967 and forced to move to France to confront the original. Z in 1969. Although its dialogue is entirely in French, the film is set in Greece and follows a government-assisted assassination of a member of the left-wing populist party (Grigoris Lambrakis) in 1963, which created the conditions for the military government to come to power many years later.

The film marked his greatest success, becoming the first film ever to be nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, winning the latter. It is even a favorite among the likes of Oliver Stone And William Friedkin, among others, and is an absolute must for anyone with any interest in revolutionary cinema. The same director would later create a number of masterpieces, the most famous of which won the Palme d’Or. disappeared (shown by Jack Lemon And Sissy Spacek) and 1972 State of SiegeBoth sides fearlessly faced the involvement of the United States in building power for the regime. Command the military around the world.

Romain Gavras said in an interview that his father fed Tarkovsky from the tender age of 7 (way too young that anyone who has seen a Tarkovsky film will compete), which caused his rebellion to be his great appreciation for action films such as: Die hard (reasonable!). The marriage between art house cinematography and action movies is what Gavras embodies with his films. Athena, prove the goal, epic, and wildly emotional all in the same breath. It is a film that lights a fire under the soul of the audience that burns long enough to connect. relationship for the coming year. With its ending addressing the futility of violence, it’s not well-timed. to watch this movie than now.

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