french films > Town Is Quiet, The

Town Is Quiet, The

The Town is quiet

Town Is Quiet, The

cast: Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gérard Meylan

year: 2000

colour: yes

certificate: 18

director: Robert Guédiguian

runtime: 132

This sprawling French film examines the economically depressed and racially divided city of Marseilles with a network of intersecting characters, each struggling toward happiness or, at least, survival. At the center of these overlapping stories is Michele, who works all night packing fish, only to come home to a drug-addicted daughter, a sullen unemployed husband, and an infant grandchild. Her efforts to help her daughter connect her in different ways to Gerard, a gangster's right-hand man (who is also the movie's most compassionate character), and Paul, a taxi driver who lies to his parents about having a girlfriend. The Town Is Quiet juggles these and other narrative threads with a steady hand and a clear eye, resulting in a bleak but emotionally compelling portrait of desperation. Though the movie offers a few glimpses of hope, many viewers may find its vision too relentless to bear.

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