http://mubi.com/films/44642/watch), could have easily been a feature length film. RARELY is there a film where i actually care about police officers (Joe Carnahan's 'Narc' is another exception), but there's something very interesting about 'Negropolitain' (specifically the younger police officer character) that drew my interest. It might have to do with the fact that it co-stars Alex Descas. He's one of those actors that as long as he's in something, I'll watch it no matter what it is. His stone-faced presence brings a seriousness to movies that's almost indescribable. Furthermore, his acting in 'Negropolitain' is kind of out of character, which is really cool. His character in this is a complex, unlikeable person. Anyone familiar with his acting should know that he rarely yells, plays a unlikeable person or even raises his voice for that matter. In fact, if he was around in the 1960's or 70's, he would've fit in perfectly in a Bresson film. But I don't wanna go too much in to praising Descas again, because i already did that in my review of 'No Fear, No Die'. I think what also intrigued me about this film is that its technically a "gritty cop drama", which is something usually associated with American Film. Its even shot in that handheld, "realistic" style that's so common with police films in America these days. Maurice Piliat is a french director who dabbled with the gritty cop drama style in his film 'Police'. In fact, 'Negropolitain' has elements of Maurice Pialat (a french director who's almost always compared to John Cassavetes), but that grittiness is nothing that completely caught on in France, and most cop/detective films from France tend to take/borrow from Claude Charbol's style.
The plot of 'Negropolitain' is somewhat similar to the basic plot of 'Training Day' or even 'Narc' to a certain extent (although its much better than 'Training Day'): a young police rookie (Julien Beramis) on his first day is partnered with a veteran cop (Descas) who has his own agenda and way of doing things. Right off the back there's some serious tension between the 2 partners due to generational issues as well as racial issues (we learn that Descas has some self-hatred issues regarding his race). I personally think that a lot of the tension between the 2 cops, besides the racism that the film explores, has to do with the fact that Descas, the older cop, sees himself in his new rookie partner (the fresh, positive outlook that he probably once had in his rookie years). The tension between the 2 gets so heated that at one point, they get physical with one another (on their first day of working together).
This short can be viewed for free on mubi.com along with a bunch of other great films. For a limited time, Mubi.com is partnering with La Semaine de la Critique to celebrate 50 years of programming with a series of films from the Cannes festival’s history (which just recently ended). The films will be free for the first 1,000 views through June 30.
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