Despite dogmatic moments the film shines through as a fresh and angry portrayal of life in a french inner city.
"Etat des lieux" belongs to the "genre" of french realist cinema that takes as subject the country's inner cities (banlieues). The most famous of this set of films is undoubtedly Mathieu Kassovitz's "Hate", but "Etat des lieux" is probably the most intriguing on several accounts. Firstly, if this means anything, it is the only film actually made by someone from the inner cities. Secondly, it is striking because of two contradictory aspects. On the one hand it is filmed in a naturalistic, quasi-documentary manner resembling the social realist films of the british. On the other hand, it is a very demonstrative film, and the message put over is clearly a traditional Marxist one. A message driven home by the politically aware hero, factory worker Pierre Seface and by performances of the french rap group "Assassin". Filmed with a low budget, "Etat des lieux" is as winning in its humanity and realism as it is heavy in its more dogmatic moments. However, sometimes filmed with references to soviet revolutionary cinema, "Etat des lieux" comes across as something fresh and angry, denouncing the daily alienation of the working-man and the tedium of the consumer society.
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