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The Sandmen (2000)
"Les marchands de sable" (original title)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  5 July 2000 (France)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 102 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 5 critic

Paris today, a working-class neighbourhood, a square. Two bars stand facing each other as they would in the main street of a town in the Far West. Marie is 25 years old and has come back to... See full summary »

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(scenario), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Antoine
Marina Golovine ...
Marie
Serge Riaboukine ...
Alain
Patrick Lizana ...
Xavier
...
Stéphane
Michèle Moretti ...
Annick
Robert Castel ...
Damien
Yann Hnautra ...
Marc
Renaud Ménager ...
Pierre
...
Catherine
Blandine Pélissier ...
Cliente du bar
Camille Bazbaz ...
Singer at club
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mathieu Archer ...
Le policier 1
Baldo ...
Le cuistot du Détour
Aude Briant ...
La prostituée
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Storyline

Paris today, a working-class neighbourhood, a square. Two bars stand facing each other as they would in the main street of a town in the Far West. Marie is 25 years old and has come back to Paris after a long absence in search of her brother, Antoine. She finds a young man who has changed. He hangs out with a rough crowd and is killed soon afterwards in circumstances that are unclear. Marie will move heaven and earth to avenge her brother's death. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

5 July 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Gauche/droite: Le détour  »

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This movie was first released on French-German TV channel Arte in a shorter version under the title Le détour (2000). See more »

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enter sandmen
4 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

When it comes to pen and produce genuine comedies such as "Cible Emouvante" (1993), "les Apprentis" (1995) or "Comme Elle Respire" (1998), Pierre Salvadori is a reliable supplier of the genre. "Les Marchands De Sable" is his first foray in the film noir genre and one could have feared that by plumping for a totally different cinematographic choice, it might have led on an artistic deadlock for him. There's nothing of the sort. This endearing director wasn't on the wrong track and his venture is every bit as successful as the crop of graceful comedies he left us. I can only write that he well assimilated the film noir methodology.

The director cleverly employs the scenery and lighting (in several shots, he admirably plays on the opposite between light and obscurity) to conjure up a stifling, sticky atmosphere and storytelling, barely soothed by a somewhat jerky reggae music. Under his camera, this popular neighborhood in Paris with the two cafés as the central places conceals bribery, injustice, drug traffic and formidable evil forces. Gloomy features that deftly integrate in a shrewd development of the narration with zones of shadow: was Antoine's death a willful murder or an accident? Strong scenes command admiration: the walk of Antoine in the street shortly before his death, the moment when Annick (Michèle Moretti) unveils to Alain (Serge Riaboukine) what lies beneath the calm appearance of her bar. All in all, virtually all the characters are more victims of a devilish system that inevitably leads to death or madness.

The cast lives up to this dusky film noir. Guillaume Depardieu and Serge Riaboukine had already teamed up with Pierre Salvadori before and once again, one can't deny their strong acting.

The golden age of the film noir in France was in the forties and fifties with two prestigious names: Henri-Georges Clouzot and Julien Duvivier. Nowadays, this genre isn't that much pored over by French directors and good French film Noirs tend to be more and more rare. So, it would be a shame to skip it Pierre Salvadori's work that doesn't break new ground but is made with care and respect.


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