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July 14, 2018

Film French Connection comes to town


July 14, 2018

Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Embassy of France and Alliance Francaise join hands in screening French film La French (Connection) in PNCA Lecture Hall on Wednesday July, 18.

Directed by Cedric Jimenez in 2014, the lead is played Jean Dujardin (earlier seen in The Artist) portraying a police magistrate (judge) fighting against the drug gang in Marseille during the seventies. This is then the account of rise and fall of infamous but lucrative drug business.

La French is an ambitious film close to other screen adaptations. Action, drama, comedy and tragedy are all rolled into one with commercially calculated cinema imagination. Impressive locations (both outdoor and indoor) are plus factors of the film.

It is interesting to note that director Cedric Jimenez spent his childhood in Marseille in the seventies so he was no stranger to the events from that location. Maybe it was a little close to from real life to reel life. To bring those dramatic events on screen, Cedric Jimenez had to take dramatic licence every now and then but those years remains close to him. To bring on screen the characters, events and locations, the director did not choose theatrics but went to reality with harsh hand-held camera filming to bring intimacy of documentary -look. Production details from the seventies were created as they were then in nightclub, furniture, wardrobe and even style of police and their props. Still more, the popular musical hits have been used on the soundtrack to bring back the seventies as they were.

It all adds up to what the French were doing against the drugs-the justice and the political system with a fearless officer on one hand and a ruthless drug kingpin on the other. The subject of drugs on screen has been part of several films. In the United States it was French Connection (1971) and French Connection II in 1975. In French films, The Judge (1984) and now La French, The screenwriter and director take care of the family side of main character by bringing in intimacy of family with wife and two children. Addiction to gambling is yet another factor added to present a three-dimensional character. At the other end of the scale comes lively and kicking mafia boss as Tanny Zampa running French extortion gang who is best in sending heroin from Turkey to flood the New York market. The hero, the central character here, plays the lead in conflict soaked in blood and shootouts against money laundering.

Technical values in La French are A-Plus in camera, editing and production effects. The film runs for 135 minutes and was nominated for Best Production Design, Screenplay and Wardrobe.

Director: Cedric Jimenez

Cast: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Llellouche

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