"La Marche" (2013 release from France; 120 min.) brings the true story of how a small group of (primarily) youngsters decide in the Fall of 1983 to do a march "for equality and against racism". As the movie opens in a "banlieu" of Lyon called "Les Minguettes", we see how a small group of second-generation immigrant young people get into an unprovoked clash with the local police, and one of them, Mohamed, is shot by the cops. Luckily the injury is not that serious, and Mohamed decides that he's going to organize the march, with end destination in Paris, to draw attention to this cause. There forms a group of 9 people who start to walking from Lyon to Paris. To tell you more would likely ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is obviously well-intended but brings a very idealistic perspective on the events that are portrayed, and on top of that, the script is seriously flawed. Let's start with the 'group of 9', which contains a representative from seemingly every segment of society that is interested in this (the second generation immigrant, the well to do 'rebellion', the lesbian, the old guy, the leftist radical, and so on) so that right out of the gate it feels like a parody of sorts. On top of that, director Nabil Ben Yadir paints a black-and-white picture of the opposing characters (cops/politicians/businesses: BAD! protesters: GOOD!). Second, while the movie tries to bring an element of suspense (will they succeed? can they make it to Paris?), I simply never felt emotionally invested and/or involved with these characters. Third, for the amount of material that the movie covers, the running time of the movie is waaaaaay too long. Cut out the weakest 20-25 min. and we likely have a much better movie. Last but certainly not least, even though the events portrayed are from exactly 30 years ago, we hear the exact same buzz words today (it's crisis, unemployment is too high, down with budget cuts, etc.), so that it leads to the inevitable conclusion that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This movie opened, among others, in Belgium in late November, when I was visiting family there. The screening I saw this at on a weekday matinée was reasonably well attended. I have no idea if this will ever get a release in US theatres, or even on US-format DVD/Blu-ray.
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