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Cannes Watch: Reviews of Polisse directed by Maiwenn

by Melissa Silverstein
May 16, 2011 2:00 AM
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From Jordan Minzer in the Hollywood Reporter:

A powerhouse of emotional jolts, free-wheeling comedy and socially-minded storytelling, Poliss (Polisse) reps an admirable step up for writer-director-actress Maiwenn, and one which should finally expand her audience beyond French borders. This extensive portrayal of officers working in a Parisian Child Protection Unit is packed with raw energy and visceral performances from an accomplished cast, and despite an unwieldy episodic structure, the film touches where it matters most. Read more.

From Guy Lodge at In Contention:

That the title for “Polisse” reportedly derives from writer-director-star Maïwenn’s misspelling of the word “police” aptly summarises both the charms and weaknesses of her third feature: a garrulous, chaotic, intermittently hot-wired ensemble soap braiding the personal and professional lives of officers in the Paris police department’s Child Protection Unit. No doubt the product of much earnest first-hand research into that environment — the numerous individual cases portrayed here are all rooted in fact — the film nonetheless feels creatively informed to a greater degree by the rhythms and structures of TV procedural drama. Read more.

Eric Kohn at IndieWIRE:

Based on real-life cases of the Child Protection Unit, the French procedural “Poliss” tells several stories at once. The third feature directed by French actress Maïwenn Le Besco (credit here simply as Maïwenn), it explores the personal lives and daily grind of the Parisian CPU with an incredible amount of detail—sometimes too much detail, although that never detracts from its skillful execution. Read more.


From Boyd van Hoeij in Variety:

A Parisian Child Protection Unit gets the gritty group-portrait treatment in "Polisse," the third feature from mono-monikered actress-helmer Maiwenn. Crimes against minors, often vice-related, are the harrowing day-to-day reality of this motley group of cops, who face their work with a necessary dose of humor and the more-than-occasional breakdown. Though rough edges are very much part of pic's fabric and charm, the current two-hour-plus edit is too choppy, with many sequences feeling rushed or underdeveloped. Nonetheless, this police ensembler has enough highlights to arrest savvy arthouse patrons worldwide. Read more.

Brad Brevet on The Rope of Silicon:

Polisse is a fast-paced, tragic, touching, emotional and occasionally hilarious look at the French police's Child Protective Unit (CPU). It plays like a documentary, or a hard-hitting two hour premiere to a new cable police procedural, which we all now know is in no way an insult. Read more.

Sasha Stone on Awards Daily:

French filmmakers don’t appear to live under the same constraints as American filmmakers do. They usually are given enough room to tell their story however long they think it needs to be told. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With Maïwenn Le Besco’s Polisse it almost works. What she needs is a good editor and someone to tell her when to stop. Still, there is much to applaud in the film, even if, in the end, it feels like too much to take in all at once. Read more.


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