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La Haine and the legacy of a Rebel Generation

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

To celebrate the re-release in a 4K restauration of the trailblazing La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz, a special programme in September will be further exploring themes of social and economic discontent, be it through literature, drawing or more cinema.

Thursday 3 September

On Thursday 3 September, we will be opening the Reading Season with Older Brother by Franco/Syrian author Mahir Guven (translated by Tina Kover) – a first poignant novel examining the threat of terrorism as well as a fragmented uberized world, weighted down by loneliness, and struggles to survive.

Older Brother unfolds in Paris the way you drive a car in the banlieue: tires squealing, running red lights and stop signs – Joumana Khatib (New York Times)

The father, an atheist communist who moved from Syria to France for his studies and stayed for love, has worked for decades driving a taxi to support his family. The eldest son is a driver for an app-based car service, which comically puts him at odds with his father, whose very livelihood is threatened by this new generation of disruptors. The younger son, shy and serious, works as a nurse in a French hospital. Jaded by the regular rejections he encounters in French society, he decides to join a Muslim humanitarian organization to help wounded civilians in the war in Syria. But when he stops sending news home, the silence begins to eat away at his father and brother who wonder what his real motivations were.

Thursday 15 September

On Thursday 15 September, we are calling at all comic book lovers and budding artists to join us online for a Drink & Draw session with graphic novel illustrator Gilles Rochier.

An autodidact, Gilles Rochier made his first go into the comic world through fanzines, and published his first book En vrac (6 Pieds sous terre) in 2003. In 2012, he won the prestigious “Prix Révélation” at the Festival international de la Bande dessinée d’Angoulême (FIBD) for his album TMLP : Ta mère la pute. In 2018, his story La Petite Couronne was featured in the FIBD’s official selection and his work was celebrated by a grand retrospective exhibition.

He has published 20 comics books (at 6 Pieds sous terre and Casterman) which all paint a sensitive and intimate portrait of the Parisian suburbs, its estates, its inhabitants, its language while avoiding usual clichés about urban peripheries. He also touches upon delicate topics, such as depression or physical disability.

Friday 4 - Thursday 17 September

For the first half of September, Les Misérables by Ladj Ly will be showing at the Ciné Lumière.

Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award and winner of several Césars and the Jury Prize at Cannes, Les Misérables follows newly recruited anti-crime brigade officer Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) navigating through the tense underworld of the Parisian suburb of Montfermeil. Ladj Ly explores contemporary Montfermeil, the place where, over 150 years ago, Victor Hugo set Les Misérables. Time has gone by and yet, the similarities between today’s angry, hoodie-wearing youth and Gavroche are only too clear.

A interview the director granted the Guardian is available here.

Wednesday 2 September – onwards

Since a Click & Collect service is now open, all members of the Institut are invited to come and borrow their favourite items again!

Stay tuned as we will soon be receiving the latest novels from La Rentrée Littéraire, a literary event that confirms the agility of words to examine the latest turmoil.

In the meantime, find below our best recommendations to understand a perhaps "lost" yet bold generation.

In les Inrockuptibles n°1290, an article titled "La France en crise vue par ses écrivains", further examines the above-mentioned topics by asking writers – who in their latest novels comment on the current crisis and their distressful consequences (Les Gilets Jaunes, uberization, gentrification, immigration, national identity) – to explain what has inspired them and how they personally envision the future.

Quelque chose va forcément péter - Alice Zéniter

So, for this year's Rentrée Littéraire, a few recommendations include: La petite dernière by Fatima Daas, Les Nuits d'été by Thomas Flahaut, Comme un empire dans un empire by Alice Zéniter and Comédies Françaises by Eric Reinhard.

Furthermore, by delving into the detailed observations of Honoré de Balzac, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo, Virginie Despentes, Michel Houellebecq, Edouard Louis, Faïza Guène and Annie Ernaux, start exploring the ins-ans-out of classic roman sociale.

By reading 77 by Marin Fouqué, Fief by David Lopez and Nino dans la nuit by Capucine et Simon Johannin, start exploring unique urban literary styles.

By checking out the profoundness of essays by Pierre Bourdieu, Bernard Lahire, Thomas Piketty, Benoit Coquart, Philippe Pujol, Tobie Nathan, Achille Mbembé, and Rokhaya Diallo, start exploring the misunderstood undercurrents of French society.

By watching Persepolis, Bande de filles, qu'Allah bénisse la France, la Graine et le Mullet, Péril sur la ville, Suzanne, La tête Haute, La vie de Jésus, Une saison en France, and Divines, start exploring the magic and beauty of banlieue (outskirts) and rebellion on film.

Une saison en France by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Suzanne by Katell Quillévéré
Péril sur la ville - a documentary about Marseille by Philippe Pujol, prix Albert-Londres 2014
Je ne photographierai plus Marseille quand je n’aurai plus rien à dire, quand cette ville ne me touchera plus du tout. Et ça arrivera. Quand la ville sera labellisée, mondialisée, globalisée comme d’autres. Quand on ne verra que des boulodromes sans âme, sans sens, privatisés et clos. Yohanne Lamoulère

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