- English subtitles
Hot sand, the sound of crickets, the sweet smell of lavender; these aspects of an idyllic place like Corsica are the stuff of dreams for any tourist. La Douce France at its best. But in this doomy drama by Thierry de Peretti, that bubble of our summer fantasies gets resolutely popped.
The mediterranean island Corsica, known for its vacationing, wealthy French and assorted Europeans, has another, less conspicuous and sadder side. The cleaners, builders, hotel employees and housesitters of Parisians’ villas all go home to quite depressing little appartments on the outskirts of holiday destinations. The original, poor inhabitants and immigrants from Northern Africa have come to feel like second-class citizens. Inferior in the eyes of their employers. Their dislike of the French is sizable and they certainly don’t feel French. Les Apaches, its title referring to ancient Parisian gangs, is the ultimate tale of haves and have nots.
After a night out with some hot-heated, uncomfortable friends, the young son of a Moroccan gardener sneaks into the villa his father works at. Their erstwhile caution doesn’t last and before long, they’re streched out floating in the pool, playing music and later even stealing a bag full of stuff. Those rich folks will never notice. And true enough, when the loss of a handful of CD’s and an old hi-fi system is discovered, they don’t lose any sleep over it. But also missing are two high priced antique guns – and that does turn ugly. A manhunt for the five boys is underway.
Better known as an actor in French films, Thierry de Peretti’s has Corsican roots himself and he knows the island like the back of his hand. He chose this area whem he found that thardly any films had been shot there. Few people realize there is more to the island than sun, sea and fun. De Peretti, who has also directed for the stage, opted for a largely local, non-professional cast. But from this chilly drama, you woulnd’t know it. For almost the entire film we are in the company of the boys, at first playful adolescents, later panicking criminal amateurs who prove capable of stupid and vcery cruel behavior. In the run-up to the cold-blooded climax, we follow them in their flight and the internal, chaotic bickering. But we’re also given insight into their everyday conversations, their plans and their wasted dreams. Most of them make no bones about that.
Of special note is the scene where one of the boys being hunted returns to the villa and walks into some Parisian teens’ pool party, their carefree lives written on their faces. As seen through the eyes of a local, the difference between their lives and their hopes for the future is a punch in the gut. Where you are born often dictates the rest of your life, as this young man knows all too well.