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The daily grind for the cops of the Police Department's Juvenile Protection Unit - taking in child molesters, busting underage pickpockets and chewing over relationship issues at lunch; interrogating abusive parents, taking statements from children, confronting the excesses of teen sexuality, enjoying solidarity with colleagues and laughing uncontrollably at the most unthinkable moments. Knowing the worst exists and living with it. How do these cops balance their private lives and the reality they confront every working day? Fred, the group's hypersensitive wild card, is going to have a hard time facing the scrutiny of Melissa, a photographer on a Ministry of the Interior assignment to document the unit. Written by
Polisse was my favourite film at the recent Sydney Film Festival. A french film from writer, director, star Maiween, it tells the story of the Child Protection Unit in Paris. It was absolutely riveting from start to finish.
An ensemble piece that moves at a cracking pace, it could be forgiven for not establishing character, but it actually manages to do that and do it very well. We are introduced to this group of close knit colleagues as they go about their day trying to balance the horrors they have to deal with (rapists, kidnappers, abusers, paedophiles) with their personal lives.
Maiween spent quite some time with a real CPU and told us in the Q&A that all the cases she featured are just like ones she witnessed and with that experience she brought an almost documentary feel at the same time as adding creative drama and plot to moments of the story as they rush through case after case. The performances are all excellent and the editing is sublime (it won a French Oscar for this).
It's shocking, emotional, intense and surprisingly very funny.
Highly recommended if you like hard-hitting films that deal with serious subjects in a very human and darkly humorous way.
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