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Cannes 2014 What I Saw #7: Brooklyn

Festivals
by Sydney Levine
May 31, 2014 6:17 PM
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KT Gorique in 'Brooklyn'

Written about here before Cannes, Brooklyn which screened in ACID, the newest sidebar to the Cannes Film Festival was the first feature by French filmmaker Pascal Tessaud. His films are part of France’s “New Vibe” film movement, films made by those filmmakers living in the “banlieux” or suburbs, that is the Arab, African immigrant neighborhoods of Paris.

The story focuses on Coralie ( Kt Gorique), who runs away from Switzerland. She arrives in Paris to test her luck in Hip Hop music. She’s hired as a cook in a local association of the Parisian suburb Saint-Denis. Coralie meets Issa ( Rafal Uchiwa ), the rising star of the hood.

KT Gorique, the lead character won the world championship of freestyle of the END OF THE WEAK in New York, she is the first female to have won this competition in its 11 years of existence. Here is a video of her performing, which inspired Pascal to contact her about his film. You can see a clip from that performance HERE

'Brooklyn'

Not only is her talent in rap and slam prize-winning, but as an actress, she seems like the grown-up version of Hush-puppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Brooklyn ’s director, Pascal Tessaud, recreates a cooperative vision by which the disenfranchised youth living in Paris’ African and Arab projects is able to transcend the constraints to which society seems to have relegated them. The power of rap and slam brings consciousness to a level of political engagement. How can one succeed? As an individual overcoming the difficulties of substandard living or as part of a larger movement, in a collective achievement?

The film is continuing to create a very French urban genre which in fact might be part of a larger movement. It is a fascinating look at the cross cultures of the 99%. This French subset shows the intelligence and the seriousness of rap a la Francais...it gives the universal music of rap an intellectual spin only the French can create.

The entire film was improvised after a workshop of one month in the city of Saint-Denis (a sort of French Bronx) just outside of Paris. The realism thus portrayed is not enacted. You can see Cassavetes’ influence in this totally modern view of Hip Hop as rappers improvise their parts in the same style that John Cassavetes used in Shadows. In addition the beat-makers Khulibaï and DJ Dusty created original music for the film and helped Pascal produce his first Hip Hop beat, which is included in the film.

Pascal Tessaud

Tessaud considers this sort of filmmaking the legacy of a little known but seminal filmmaker he wrote a book about, Paul Carpita who made films in the 1950s in Marseilles and died in 2009. Ken Loach in his preface to a 2009 book of interviews with Carpita, claimed: "Since the censorship of his work, Paul Carpita led a modest existence. Ultimate proof, if necessary, of his integrity. It is finally time for us to recognize him as a hero."

He says, "Rachid Djaïdani (Rengaine akaHold Back) is my first supporter and said that Brooklyn is now part of the brotherhood ofDonoma and Rengaine (Hold Back)!”

In conclusion, each of these seven films is concerned with the power of the individual facing a society whose injustice seems so immense that the very idea of resistance is subversive and yet, when action against the injustice is taken, the strength of the human soul, acting in concert with others, shines.

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