A former teacher in the suburbs of Paris, Brisseau drew heavily on his own experience when making this drama set on a rundown housing estate, where gangs wreak horrific revenge on one another and where authorities figures - whether cops, social workers or teachers - are simply not tolerated. Bruno, a naive 13-year-old who has just moved to the estate with his mother, is appalled but fascinated by the behaviour of his new friend, Jean-Roger, and his father (Cremer), who dresses and behaves like a cowboy. Eschewing social realist conventions, Brisseau opts for a picaresque approach, mixing fantasy sequences and deadpan comedy with the violence while refusing to moralise about his delinquent characters. When it was unveiled in Cannes, the film was regarded as wilfully exaggerated. Seen in 2003, it seems premonitory. This is the same world that Mathieu Kassovitz exposed a few years later in La Haine.
Cast and crew