EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|POLISSE (director/writer: Maiwenn; screenwriter: Emmanuelle Bercot; cinematographer: Pierre Aïm; editors: Laure Gardette/Yann Dedet; music: Stephen Warbeck; cast: Karin Viard (Nadine), Joeystarr (Fred), Marina Foïs (Iris), Nicolas Duvauchelle (Mathieu), Maïwenn (Melissa), Karole Rocher (Chrys), Emmanuelle Bercot (Sue Ellen), Frédéric Pierrot (Balloo), Arnaud Henriet (Bamako), Naidra Ayadi (Nora), Jérémie Elkaïm (Gabriel); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alain Attal; IFC Films; 2011-France-in French and Arabic with English subtitles)|
|"It gets across its message on the
plight of the innocent children."
by Dennis Schwartz
by the 35-year-old French
actress and filmmaker Maiwenn ("The
Actress' Ball"/"Pardonnez-moi "),
who co-wrote it with Emmanuelle Bercot. The
social conscience emotional crime story follows
the police Child Protection Unit in
northern Paris. It was inspired by actual
scary cases of child abuse, pedophilia,
child prostitution, child homelessness and
neglect that are fictionalized. It won
the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2011. The uneven, loosely
sketched and messy rambling drama, looking more like a
TV series than a movie, nevertheless establishes a
docudrama look and never relinquishes its raw energy
of getting to the brutality of the crimes despite
going off on too many soap opera subplots about
romances among the police, their testy relationships
at home and the poisonous political chatter among the
stressed-out police during their lunch breaks. The
film succeeds because it gets across its message on
the plight of the innocent children, as Maiwenn,
despite her lapses in film-making judgment, makes us
feel the pain of the abused and in the end that's what
registers the most.
a timid photographer named
Melissa assigned by the Interior Ministry to
document the activities of the police group, who
gets romantically involved with unit member Fred
French rapper) and thereby eventually
The crime squad is led by the politically cautious Balloo (Frédéric Pierrot), too fearful to take a stance against his bosses and stick-up for his squad. Under him is Fred, who is estranged from his daughter and who takes every case as if it were a matter of life and death, which causes conflicts with his superior. Other key members are the stressed-out Nadine (Karin Viard), going through a divorce; her troubled partner Iris (Marina Foïs); and the lustful Mathieu (Nicolas Duvauchelle), who has the hots for his married partner Chrys (Karole Rocher).
opening scene, showing the first of many police
interviews with their subjects, it has a little girl
tell officer Chrys that her father sometimes
“scratches her butt,” which indicates the difficulties
for the police in distinguishing truth from the
imagination of a child in sex abuse cases--especially
when kids and parents offer conflicting statements.
The pic focuses on the strain of the stress-full police job. A good example of that is in a later scene, where there's a loud shouting match in the office between partners Nadine and Iris. Despite all the weepie incidents uncovered, there is a comical moment when Fred interrogates a teenage girl who gave a blow job to get back a stolen cell phone.
film is at its best when it reveals what happens
behind the closed doors, as the
pic's ethnically diverse officers
go from friendly chatter among colleagues to hateful
rants about immigrant criminals
to investigating heart-wrenching cases of social
The publicity department informs us the title
is derived from Maiwenn’s own son’s
misspelling of the word.
REVIEWED ON 2/21/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ