Marseilles, 2000: the city may appear peaceful, even prosperous, but for all the sun, sea and civic rhetoric, life can be tough. Take Michèle, who gets tired enough toiling at the fish market without having to return home to rows with a husband who refuses to deal with their daughter's drug addiction. Or Paul, brushing aside a residue of guilt over having abandoned his striking docker mates to buy a car and set up as a cabbie, he's lonely, too. Then there's the local politician whose cynicism disgusts his social worker wife; and Aderramane, inspired by a stretch inside to help the brothers react more fruitfully to racism and injustice; or the jobless guy blaming blacks and Arabs for his plight; or Gérard, still so hooked on Michèle after all these years, he'd do anything to help her. Guédiguian has forged a reputation as one of the finest, most distinctive French film-makers around. A humanist in the Renoir mould, here he offers something larger and darker than the whimsy of A l'attaque!: his Short Cuts-style social tapestry weaves a host of vivid, credible characters into a multi-layered narrative as dramatically engrossing as it's emotionally powerful.