The proceedings of a Paris courtroom are the grist for this documentary. Drawn from over 200 appearances before the same female judge, the director chooses a dozen or so varied misdemeanor ... See full summary »
The proceedings of a Paris courtroom are the grist for this documentary. Drawn from over 200 appearances before the same female judge, the director chooses a dozen or so varied misdemeanor and civil hearings to highlight the subtle details of human behavior. In the process he draws attention to issues of guilt, innocence, policing and ethnicity in France. Written by
a brilliantly simple account of how law fails to deliver justice as it tries sincerely to achieve it.
Just a few cameras placed in two or three spots in the courtroom. it is a court that deals with small crimes. The movie could so easily have been one of 'human drama' or 'human condition', or another easy cliché.
But the director tactfully avoids doing such a facile movie. In the silences, in the gazes exchanged you can see a black guy charged with marijuana dealing, be transformed from young boy to old man. you can actually see it in his eyes when his verdict is told. you can see what law does, and how it does it.
you can literally see class, gender and race in this simple movie. simple here is something that is attained after hundreds of hours of shooting, editing and a lot of thought. You can see how law with all the sincerity fails to deliver justice.
But most important is the pace of the movie, and the editing. First it gets us acquainted with the legal process, the characters are introduced, the judge, the prosecutors. We get familiarized with the setting, the bench, the process. These are done through the cases of characters that we can easily associate. Just when we are done we move to more complicated cases, that of the Arab thief, that of bans from France... It introduces us the process enough and leaves us at the right place to look through it ourselves. And the two conclusive sessions, of the nerdy sociologist -that just would not get what law is about- and of the guy who is just-too-honest-for-the-law are simply great. Such humor and mind boggling, simple, ambivalence.
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