Street Flow (2019) - full transcript

Three brothers try to survive on the streets of a tough French suburb.


[instrumental music playing]

[whispering indistinctly]

[praying softly in Bambara]

[continues praying]

[chain rattling]

[radio] ...very warm in France today.

Will June 2018 top June 2017's
record-breaking temperatures,

already the second hottest month
on record?

Thunderstorm activity is set to continue
over much of France.

No less than 31 regions have been issued
with a severe weather warning,

from the Pyrenees to the Massif Central,

and the central regions,
Upper Normandy and Picardy.

[radio continues indistinctly]




[Khadijah sighs]

[Khadija] Eh!


Wake up.

Wake up, Noumouké. It's time.
You're gonna be late. Wake up!

-I'm dreaming.
-I'm not going to repeat myself!

Look at your room!

[speaking Bambara]

[in French] I'm going out. I want you up
and dressed by the time I do.

Otherwise... You have five minutes!

[Khadija continues yelling in Bambara]

[Khadija continues yelling in Bambara]


[exhales sharply]

Good morning.

Good morning, Mr. Mirabeau.

[bag rustling]

Mom, leave that. Let me. I'll do it.

My son...

-It's gonna be all right. Inch'Allah.

Please wake your brother.

-Okay. Have a good day, Mom.
-Thanks, you too.

-[Soulaymaan] You have five minutes.
-Leave me alone.

[door opens]

-[door closes]

[instrumental music playing]

[motorcycle revs]


-[brakes squeal]

["After Laughter" (Comes Tears)
by Wendy Rene playing on stereo]

[dog barks]

No. Get in the back.

♪ After laughter ♪

[engine turns over]

♪ Comes tears ♪

♪ After laughter ♪

Need a lift?

No, I'm okay.

♪ My friends all say... ♪

Can I drive, please?


[brakes squeal]


[Noumouké] So?

Hey. Stop looking at him, you idiots.

I don't give a fuck
about Noumouké and his brother.

He's no big deal.
My uncle's got a ride like that, too.


You brake too hard.

What do you want?

Nothing, sir.

-You're a Fitoussi, aren't you?
-[Sofia] Yes.

You look exactly like Fawziyah.

-That your mom?
-[Sofia] No, I'm her niece

Lamia's daughter?

No, I'm her niece.

-No, her niece.

-[Demba] Never mind.

What are you laughing at?

You're Hakima's daughter.

Yes, sir, exactly.

Why are you calling me "sir"?


Yes, Demba.

Who told you to call me Demba?
I'm not your friend.

He's just messing with you.

Here you go.

Share it with your friend.

What's up? You're looking good.

Seven years.

[Abdel] If I'd been busted
for everything I'd done,

I'd have come out in a box.

Sonia told me about your warrants.

The first time I made big money
was with you. I won't forget.

[Abdel] I quit eight months ago.

[Demba] Congrats.

What are you going to do now?

Someone I know from Marseille

is bringing in 100 kilograms of cocaine
next week.

Does that answer your question?

You in?

I go to the source now, Abdel.

But if I need something, I'll ask you.

What's that?

I'm not here to beg.

There's 10,000 euros.

Well, if you insist.

[Demba chuckles]


Any news of Francis?

If he didn't snitch,
the cops would have nothing on us.

You'll never hear of him again.

You never taken someone down?

They say the first time's the hardest
because... you have no choice.

But I say it's the second time...

because you realize you have it in you.

I want to warn you...

Sahli's about to arrive.

[Demba inhales]


Then I'll go.

Nice seeing you, Abdel.


Let him in.

[man] Go ahead.

-Where do you think you're going?
-Go on, let him in.

-What are you after?
-A block.

-A block?


[speaking indistinctly]

[children playing]


[Sofia laughs]

That teacher's breath stinks!

He was nice, you mean.

Like he had roadkill in his mouth!

He kept getting real close
to give me advice during class.

Yeah, but when he came near me,
I went straight into scuba diving mode.

-[girl] Yo, that stinks!


-Beat it!
-[girl] I'm gonna tell.

[melody to return to class plays]



Right. Have you thought about it?

Yeah. No way.

You scared?

What are you talking about?
How are you gonna get in, anyway?

Kick the door down.
You think I'm gonna ask for their keys?

Drop it. If we get busted, it'll cause
problems between my brother and Sahli.

We won't! Anyway, your bro Demba
will kick Sahli's ass.

You wanna stay here all summer?

I'm not rotting here. We gotta get away.


Please, take a seat.

It is with great pleasure
that I welcome you to this chamber.

It has a very special resonance
for us lawyers.

Here, you'll defend, accuse,
try to convince.

As per the rule,

I will now reveal the topic of the debate

for the oratory competition final.

Is the State solely responsible

for the current situation
of the suburbs in France?

You'll defend the affirmative,
Ms. Crèvecœur.

Throwing light on the responsibility
of the State

in the situation of the suburbs.

Thank you, sir.

And therefore, Mr. Traoré,
you'll defend the negative.

-Thank you.
-You'll need to be more than convinced.

You need to be convincing and eloquent.

You'll be judged on these two criteria.

I'll leave you to look around.

See you in two weeks.

Thank you, sir.

-[Mirabeau] Good luck.
-Thank you.

[footsteps departing]

[door closes]

Be imposing to not have to impose.


Have you seen him defend?

No, never.

You should. You learn a lot.


What do you think of the topic?


I have lots to say.

You don't mind defending the State?

Because I grew up in the suburbs,
I should be against the State?


A bit cliché, I admit.

For you, the State is responsible
for all the problems in the suburbs?

Indeed, sir.

Make your case, ma'am.


-What, now?
-[Soulaymaan] Yes.

The prosecutor!

The question, sir, is who is the State?

The State is not the people.

The State is those who govern us.

More often than not, white and wealthy.

Those who govern us,

whose disastrous policies
towards people living in the suburbs

and taunting words

have split France in two.

The defense!

You tell us the State
is those who govern us.

But those who govern...

were elected by those governed...

or by the absence of their vote.

If the former are responsible,

how are the latter exempted?

[man] Excuse me.

The hearings will resume.

Thank you.

Save some energy for the final.
You'll need it.

Speak for yourself.

[scoffs] Presumptuous.

-[Lisa] Mm-hmm.

[lecturer] When was
the International Criminal Court created?

In 1998.

No, in 2002.

The Rome Statute of ICC was adopted on--

On July 17, 1998,

but entered into force in 2002,
when ratified.


The problem is that since its creation,
the ICC only initiated proceedings

against African leaders,

thus discrediting itself completely.


[man] Hey! Watch it!

Not your cellphone, your book!

Keep going.
I have to tend to the kids, okay?

-I don't believe this!
-It's not my fault.

-I waited 40 minutes for the train.
-Of course, it's--

The State's fault, exactly.

I'm not joking, Soulaymaan.

Honestly, I can't do it on my own.

It's the third time this month.

-I'm here now. Smile.
-Hold your horses.

Without other volunteers, we won't last.

I want you to be on time, okay?
Take the French group.

At your service.

-[Soulaymaan] Hello, kids.

Hello. Soulaymaan, I have a problem.

-My pencil doesn't work.
-I'll give you another one.

Malak, why don't you take out your things?

-What are you working on?


You need to find the missing vowels
and write the words correctly.

What's a vowel?

In second grade and you don't know?
What's a vowel, kids?

-Oh, I know!
-[Soulaymaan] Fatou.

A, E, I, O, U, Y.

[hip hop playing]

Hi, Mom.

Let me help you.

Leave me alone. You know me?

Leave me alone.

I told you to leave me alone.

Out of my life!

I don't want anything to do with you.

[speaks Bambara]

[in French] That's all!

-[Soulaymaan] It's good, Mom.
-[Khadija] Mm-hmm. [chuckles]


[footsteps approaching]

[door opens and closes]

-[Khadija] Do you know what time it is?
-Come on, it's barely 8.00 p.m.

[Soulaymaan] Watch your mouth!

You have time to hang around
but not for homework?

[Khadija] Wash your hands and come to eat.


Where's my spoon?

[Soulaymaan] Go get it yourself.


[Khadija speaking Bambara]


[groans in pain]

It's okay, Mom. Don't move.
I'll do it myself.

[Khadija grunts]

Yes. Thank you, son.

You'll make your future wife very happy
if you take care of her like that.

I'm not sure I could do it
for another woman.


You're a gentleman.
You know how to talk to ladies.

-Doesn't he, Noumouké?

-"Yep," and what about you?
-What do you mean?

[Khadija] You'll find
a nice, pretty wife. Mmm?

To take care of your poor mother.


-[Noumouké grunts]



-[man 1] Can you see the waitress?
-[man 2] Rim, Aïcha!


[indistinct chattering]


I pistol whipped him.
He was pissing blood!

-You're trigger happy. Be careful.
-I won't roll around at 35!

You know what they say.
Since the Chinese invented gunpowder.

-[Majid] What the hell's he talking about?
-What's up? Majid. Demba.

-How's it going?

Yo, Jason Statham.

What's up, bro?

Still the same:
money, sex, violence, la vida loca.


-Let's grab something to eat.
-Nah, or I'll end up closing the shop.

You know what? I've been seeing this girl.
She's about to fall into my trap.

[Demba] She'll get it.

-How much did you make?
-[man] 6,500.

-Nothing for me?
-[man] Nope.

Another client said Sahli's team
tried to keep him from scoring with us.

What's his problem? Let's kick his ass!

Anytime now, I'll whoop him.

Give the cash to Rim
and come back tomorrow.

Got it. See you later, Samir.

-I'm gonna go.
-All right. I'll call you tomorrow.

-Take care, bro.
-You too.

["Commando" by Niska playing]

Don't worry. I've prepared a feast.

You like fish?

Okay then, let's go.

See you.

Samir's gonna score tonight!



[vehicle approaches]

Get in!

I missed him!

[Samir] They shot me
in front of my own house!

-My own house!
-[Demba] Did you see him?

[Samir] The guy was hooded!

So, it was Lakdar?

I beat him up last week
and today I get shot. You think?

I'm gonna get my AK
and set this fucking project on fire!

-I'm gonna shoot those motherfuckers!
-Calm down.

I can't! They tried to kill me!

-Want jail time?
-I don't give a fuck!

Between ten years and a bullet,
I'd take the ten years.

Do what you want, but tomorrow
the cops are on your doorstep.

So be it.

Demba, if you're not in,
I won't be offended.

But in this business,
you have to be ready to kill.

Everyone else is.

I said I'd come.

-I don't know.
-Did I say that?

[nervously breathes]

[exhales deeply]

-I'm starving.
-[Demba] Go to McDonald's.


I told you to eat here,
you chose McDonald's.

[motorcycle revs]

[man shouts]

[Soulaymaan] If the inhabitants
of the suburbs

consider the State responsible
for all their problems,

they would expect the State
to have all the solutions.

But the State,

so strong in your opinion,


maybe doesn't want to...

Either way,
will not provide these solutions.

So, what's left except for...

whining victimhood?

[people chattering]

[Soulaymaan] May I?

Here to bribe me to let you win?

No, I suggest you abandon
before your grand defeat.

As a woman, I banned the word "abandon"
a long time ago.

As a black man from the suburbs, same.

But if I considered the State
solely responsible for my troubles...

What are you doing?

Give me a smile.

A happy memory before you lose.


-[Lisa] There, that's what I call a smile.
-Stop it.

Can I see it?

My expression! [laughs]

-Can I look at the rest?
-[Lisa] Sure.

You've got the eye for it.

I don't know, I just love it.

I think I'll need your eye for something.


My son! It's so kind of you.

-How are you?

I like it when you come to pick me up.

But don't you have a debate
to prepare for?

Don't worry, Mom. I have ten days left.

But I'm gonna win.


[brakes squeal]


-You doin' something?

[rap music playing loudly]

-Wanna play some ball?
-It's been a while.

-You gonna stay?

-Okay, let's go.

[driver] Excuse me,
could you turn the music down, please?

Who you talkin' to?
Shut the fuck up and drive your bus!

-For the other passengers.
-Shut the fuck up!

We chillin' and nobody complainin'.

You talkin' shit.
Sit the fuck down and drive your bus!

Don't even talk to him.

-We gonna bust him up.

[rap music continues playing loudly]

Thinks he's some kind of sheriff.

Son! Please turn the music down.

Behave yourself!


[music stops]

Pass it over here!

-Pass it to me!
-Go, go!

Outta my way!

Hey! Beat it!

What do you want?
You want me to fuck you, or what?

-Who do you think you are?
-You're dead, asshole!

-Go on!
-Fuck him up, Noumouké!

[crowd yelling]

Fuck him up, Noumouké!

[whistle blowing]

-[coach] Stop it!
-[Noumouké] I'll kill you!

Let go!

Beat it! Fuck!

I'm gonna get you, Traoré,
and I'll kick your fuckin' ass!

[all gasp]

[speaking Bambara]

[radio announcer]
...a turbulent week ahead.

Truckers, pensioners, and civil servants
are taking to the streets

with two large protests...

[Khadija speaking Bambara]

You okay, Mom?

[Khadija sighs]

What's he done now?

[Khadija in French] He said
that he banged into a post.

And I get a call from the school.
They want to see me.

I'm so ashamed, Noumouké!

[speaks Bambara]

[Soulaymaan] Proud of yourself?

I'll go talk to the principal.

For them to say
that I don't take care of my kids?

No, Soulaymaan!


[Soulaymaan] We'll go together, then.

[Khadija] All right.

[speaking Bambara]

[winces in pain]

[instrumental music playing]

[Khadija in French] Traoré, pray for us.

May the Lord give me strength.

[Khadija] I do everything I can
to educate him.

I don't doubt it, Ms. Traoré.

Never had a problem with this one.

Never called in. But him...

He's on the same path as his brother.
I don't know what to do.

[Soulaymaan] Please, sir,

at least let him finish the year.

I understand your distress,

but he got into a fight with a student
and punched a teacher.

Like I did it on purpose.

You're so stupid! Kicked out
two weeks before your exams!

-Are you dumb or what?
-Leave me alone!

-Leave me alone?
-[Khadija screams]

[man] What's wrong with you?

You're gonna kill me.

Are you okay, Mom?

[indistinct chatter from TV]

Yo, Lawman! Come in.

[Soulaymaan] Nah, I'm in a hurry, Samir.

-What's up?
-[Samir] Still alive.

-Good, no?
-Don't worry, Lawman.


"You need an army to take me!

You think you can kill me
with two bullets?"

[Soulaymaan] Demba? Can we talk?

What's up?

You need to talk to the little one.

What's he done?

He got expelled from high school.

He punched a teacher.
You need to talk to him.

All I did at school was fight.

That's my point. You need to talk to him.
He's acting like you.

"Acting like me?"

You and Mom love saying that.

When he's good, he's like you,
and when he fucks up, he's like me?

Life is about choices.
He'll do what he wants.

Your choices are shaped
by your family and surroundings.

"Your choices, blah, blah..."
Enough, bookworm!

Why didn't you act like me?

Why didn't I act like Dad?

Demba this, Demba that.

-If you need money, you know where I am!
-It's only for my studies.

You know where the money comes from.

It's all about choice.

Except your choice killed Dad.

-What'd you say?
-You heard me.

My choice killed Dad?

-He couldn't stand seeing you in jail.
-You lay your hand on me?

-Demba, what's wrong?
-Get off me!

-Get inside!

Get lost before I cut you in half!

[sports commentator speaking on TV]

You serious?

Hold on. What do you think you're doing?!

Have you lost your mind?


[video game sounds]


Hey, but...



You love the little birds, I think?

I see you've managed with a fond research,
to find their tiny claws a roomy perch.


When you smoke your pipe,

I suppose that the tobacco smoke
spouts from your nose--

Do not the neighbors cry terror-struck:
'The chimney is afire?'"

He's mad! Why is he makin' fun of himself?


It's in terms of rhetoric
that this speech is interesting.

What's rhetoric?

I'll let you look.


No, R-H.

Give me that.

"Rhetoric is the science and the art
of discourse on the mind.

The word derives from the Latin rhetorica.

-[Lisa chuckles]
-Do it yourself

if you think it's that easy.

Rhetoric is the art of speaking well.

Simple as that.

-Simple as that?
-[Lisa] Not that complicated.

-Get home safely.
-[students] Thanks.


-I'm off. Lisa, thank you for coming.
-No problem.

It'd be great if you could come back
next week.

I'm getting ready to leave for London,
but if I find the time, I'll come.

-Okay, discuss that with Soulaymaan.

-Have a nice evening.
-Thanks, you too.

-[Nadya] Bye.


Yeah, I got an internship at a law firm.

I'm going for a year.

So, this is where you live?


Care for a tour?

All right.


-Watch your step.

Okay. Wait.


Here it is.

My secret garden.

I come here when I need a break.

It's... impressive.

[speaking indistinctly]

[Lisa] Have you lived here long?

-[Soulaymaan] Since forever.
-You never wanted to leave?

To go where?


I couldn't live there.

My whole life is here.

My little brother, my mom.

I can't see myself saying,
"Mom, I found a flat in Paris."


For us, when we leave the family,
it's to start another one.

-You only have one brother?

I have two older sisters.

One in Mali.

The other in Limoges.


I have an older brother.

[Lisa] Where does he live?

Let's just say he's back and forth.

What about you?

[Lisa chuckles]

I had my own place at the age of 13.

-Where I'm from, we leave the nest early.
-[Soulaymaan] Really?

[laughs] No. I live at my parents'.

[Soulaymaan laughs]

But they don't really live together.

[Soulaymaan] Are they separated?

Maybe they should be, given the tension.
I don't get why they persist.

[train brakes squeal]

[both chuckle]

It was a busy night. I'm almost out.

If you could bring me a pack of coal
and 35 bags of mouth tips...

-If you could drop by tonight...
-Demba. The kid's here.


I'm counting on you.

-You ain't at school?

The English teacher...

-is sick.

What's this?

Naçim did it.

Sahli's nephew.
Don't worry, I kicked his ass.

He punched first, that's all.

-Didn't I tell you to punch first?
-I know.

Grab a seat.

Look at you...


[man] What's up, Demba?

Can you give me 200 euros, please?


That's it?


I need it.

What for?

I want to buy a new pair of Air Max.

Everyone has them.

-I ain't got nothin'.
-[Demba] And that's my problem?

It's not a matter of how much.

Check out this cash.

Here it is.

Take it.

When I wanted something at your age,

I didn't rely on anyone.

[Noumouké sighs]

I can get by myself.

Show me, then.

You want money? Go get it!

[Sofia] Noumouké!

Noumouké, Noumouké!
Stop that and move your ass!

-Over there!
-Stop yelling!

[Sofia] Careful.

Yo, people live here!

Noumouké, stop that!

-I know it's there.
-There's nothin' here.

-Let's look somewhere else. Come on.
-It's here, stupid!

Found anything? No!

[Noumouké gasps]

[Sofia] Fuck yeah!



[Noumouké panting]

Put that away. Put that away!

Chill out, ain't nobody in here.

I'll keep it for a while.

[Sofia] How long?

Till summer. We can't spend any yet.

-Where you gonna hide it?
-Think I'm gonna cheat you?

-Let's split it.
-Split it now.

[Noumouké sighs]

-Be careful, or there'll be trouble.
-Yeah, yeah. I get it.

Sofia, you don't realize what we're doing.

-We can go on vacation.
-Shut up!

Just chill out and count.

You ordering me around now?

Fifteen thousand bucks each!

Fifteen thousand bucks!

Fifteen thousand bucks!

Yo, that's crazy!

[Soulaymaan] Paris is pretty nice, huh?

I'm going to miss it.

I'll miss you too.

I'll miss you too.

If that weren't true, would you tell me?


I think so.

You liar!

No, it's true.

I'm not a liar.

If you weren't a liar, you'd be
in another profession, wouldn't you?

That's how you see the work of a lawyer?

It's about seeing facts

from a point of view
sometimes far from reality, but plausible.

[Lisa] Hmm.

-You know, I've been thinking...

London is only two hours away by train.

It's doable.

-That's true.
-[cell phone vibrating]

Sorry, it's my little brother.

-[Noumouké] Soulay, where are you?

-I'm not around. What's up?
-She fell over. I dunno what happened!

-Mom fell over!

-She's on the floor! Where are you?

-Did you call an ambulance?
-No! I don't know what to do!

Calm down, Noumouké. What happened?

[Noumouké] I don't know.
Mom fell and she's not waking up.

-She was fine, and then...

[Noumouké] What? Call who?

-Don't move. I'm on my way!

Lisa, I'm sorry. I've got to go.
My mom's in trouble. Sorry.

His girl.
The motherfucker'll be down any minute.

[engine turns over in the distance]

[cocks gun]

The bastard's here. Balaclavas on!



Give me the room number.

[somber instrumental music playing]

Come out. I'm here.

I tried calling you all night,
but got your voicemail.

Tell me what happened.

She had a stroke.


She's gonna be okay.
It was a little stroke.

-[Demba] What's a little stroke?
-It could've been worse.

She'll be out in a few days.

Come in.

-Drop it. She doesn't want to see me...

She asked for you.

[Noumouké sniffles]



[continues sobbing]

You hungry?


Me too.

We only have eggs left.

Doesn't matter. An omelet's fine.



I have 100 euros if you need it.

We can go get groceries tomorrow.

Where did you get 100 euros?

Demba gave it to me.

You know Mom would never
accept that money.

Don't worry. We'll figure it out.
It's not your responsibility.

We'll get by.

[Sahli] Who did you tell
my stash was here?!

-You told someone! He came looking!
-[Sandra] Why would I? I'm not crazy.

[Sandra screams]

Hey, how did they know you weren't here?

I don't know. Maybe they saw me leave
with my suitcase.

Where's my money?

-Huh? Where's my money?

[cries] You're hurting me!



Stop your whining!

There was 30,000 euros.
Think I found it on the ground?

[Sandra cries]

You can always do renovations
if you want.

But in his case,
the apartments are rented as is.

How much rent per month?

Four thousand two hundred euros.

There's just a tenant
who hasn't paid for six months,

but not a problem for you, obviously.

Unless it's a family with kids.


You want to pressure a family with kids?

If they can't pay, what do we do?

If they can't pay, they can't stay.

I don't do that kind of stuff.
I'm not interested.

[man] I...

-I'm off.
-[Samir] Okay.

I'll call you later.


You sell drugs to the whole district,
but can't evict people who don't pay rent?

I see you've never been evicted.

-You've been weird since the other night.
-Nothing to do with it.

What's done is done.

You sure?

I'm telling you.

My mom had a stroke.

I didn't know, bro.

You should've told me.

How is she?

She's okay.

When did it happen?

The other night.

-We took a life, my mom almost lost hers.
-Don't think like that, bro.

Yo, Noumou!

What's up?



What about me?

-[Chico] Got five bucks?
-No, Chico, please.

Yo, gimme five euros.

You're always asking me for somethin'.

Yes, five euros...
you know who I fucking am!

I know! Please, no beef.

-You want five euros?


-[Demba] What do you want, Chico?
-Hey, what's up?

-Not much. You?




Where we goin'?

Why, not happy to spend time
with your bro?

I am.

We'll go see Mom,
and then go somewhere else.

What you doin'?

Other side. Move.

Does Wors still train here?

[man speaking indistinctly]

[Dominique] Hey, guys.


Here's the boy.

Wanna get in the ring?

You can box Sébastien.

I've never boxed before.

Are you like your brother?
Here just for the show?

You scared?

-Get up here!
-[Noumouké] Scared of who?

We'll see.

-[Demba] What's your dad's problem?
-You know what he's like.

It's 'cause you stopped boxing.

I didn't. Prison stopped me boxing.

Know what he'd say?

-Life is...
-About choices.


-Boxing won't fill the fridge.

I know. Over there.



[clears throat]

-Quicker on the left.

-Longer strike.


Longer on the left.

Keep moving. On the left.

Come on, focus!

Don't get riled up, stay calm.

Avoid the punches. Get out of the corner!


Shake hands.

Shake hands.

-[Jacques] Breathe.


Relax the left.

[Jacques] Boxing is like life.

You need strategy.



Anger and rage...

aren't enough.


Go, champ!

I'll teach you to box.

Get in the middle.

Hands up.

You're gonna move from side to side.

Okay. On your toes.

That's it. To the left.

Light on your feet. That's it. Left.

Hands up.

To the right.

Keep moving.

Send me your left.


Stop jumping when you throw your left.

You can't walk and eat at the same time.


Watch your brother.

["Little Ghetto Boy"
by Donny Hathaway playing]

Remember the next step?

Left, right...

Left, right, and dodge.

One, two, three, hook, and repeat.

-Okay, go ahead.


♪ Will you sell caps of madness
To the neighborhood? ♪


♪ You already know how proud life can be ♪

♪ 'Cause you've seen ♪

♪ So much pain and misery ♪



-You know Chico?

-He used to be legendary.

Everyone talked about him.

He had the money,
the reputation, the ladies.

Everyone was afraid of him.

Look at him now. You get it?


You comin' back to boxing?

Yeah, but next time
don't put me with a semi-pro!

That's how you get stronger.

Go on, get inside.

♪ Everything has got to get better ♪

[brakes squeal]

It wasn't me.

Yeah? Everyone says it was.

Look at him when you speak!

Lower your eyes.

Little shits.

You'll pay!


Not happy?

I'm talkin' to you!

Whadda ya want?


Three thousand euros a month ain't enough?

If it's one of you, you'll get it!

-Whadda ya want?
-I just wanna buy.

I'll be back.

-[dealer] Whadda ya need?
-[man] Twenty euros' worth.


That black dude's scary.

Shut the fuck up!

[siren whoops]

[man shouts]

[siren whoops]

[indistinct shouting]

[indistinct shouting]

-[officer] Get back. Get back!
-[man] You serious?

[Soulaymaan] Since when does being poor...

lead to resorting to stealing,
to trafficking, to violence?

And what poverty are we talking about?

The precarious situation
of certain suburbanites...

is luxurious and comfortable
next to what their parents fled.

[Lisa] In gathering people,

or rather, penning them in...

not only blacks and Arabs,
but poor people in particular...

to the "sub" of the "urban,"
the root of the word "suburb,"

could the French State ignore the risk
a parallel economy would develop there?

Maybe even a parallel France.

If the State could not predict this,
then it did not govern.

As to govern is to predict.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,

have you heard
of the towns Establet or Joucou?

These are two small rural towns,

with levels of precarity equal
to their suburban Parisian counterparts.

And yet...

you've never heard of them.

[keyboard clacking]

[Lisa] The responsibility...


[instrumental music playing]

[Soulaymaan] Noumouké...

take the key.

[Khadija exhales]

[Khadija grunts]

[Khadija grunts]

[Khadija exhales]

Thank you.

Thank you, boys.

[Khadija exhales]

[Soulaymaan] Allow me to cite
the Argentinian author

who acquired French nationality in 1981,

Julio Cortazar, who says,

"Cowardice tries to throw on others
the responsibility that we refuse."


Good sir, would you have the kindness

to accord me two minutes of your time
to discuss the Senegalese Tirailleurs?

You learn that in school now?

Some, like Grandpa, fought for France

because he was promised
a salary and citizenship.

Yeah, but Grandpa wasn't Senegalese.
He was Malian.

They were called
the Senegalese Tirailleurs

because the first soldiers
came from Senegal.

But there were soldiers
from other colonies.

Malians, Algerians, Moroccans...

Need something, Mom?

No. Thank you, son.

I'm not handicapped.

She's playing the warrior, but...

she's tired.

She can't keep worrying about you.
It's not good for her health.

You'd better get your diploma.

Where are you going?

The library. I can't concentrate at home.

The library?



-[Noumouké] What's that?
-[Sofia] What?

The clothes, the bike?
That's what you call discreet?

Chill. I told everyone it was my cousin's.

Your cousins ain't got shit!
If you get caught, leave me out of it!


[vehicle accelerates]

[brakes squeal]

Where you running to, boy?

Don't you speak French?

I speak French perfectly well.
I don't get your slang.

-Got a problem with slang?
-Not with my friends.

But I don't believe we know each other.

Let's get to know each other.
Your papers?

-[man] Papers, now!
-I've my student card.

French law doesn't oblige us to be polite,
but you must carry ID.

-We can take you in, you know.
-If you've nothing better to do.

See, you speak informally, too.


Like Demba Traoré?

-Yes, and?
-[man] Gonna frisk you.

Get back. Don't film.

-Spread your legs and shut up.
-I'm gonna miss my train!

-Nothing dangerous on you?

[man] Check his bag.

-[Soulaymaan] My train! I've got class.
-[man] Don't worry.

There's nothing but books in my bag.
And a computer.

-Something on him or not?

Let him get his train. Here.

He'll get it. These creatures run fast.

Run, little Sambo.

He says that in front of you
and you say nothing!

You think we're the same?

[man] Let's go.

-[door closes]
-[engine turns over]

[reflective instrumental music playing]

[man] Hey, Soulay. Lookin' for Demba?
He's at the cafe.

I'm not looking for him.
Come here a minute.

Give me something to smoke.

What? Are you nuts?

Come on.




[thunder rumbles]


It's been a while.



Let go, let go, let go!

Get in and shut the fuck up!

[tires squeal]

[thunder rumbles]

Letter to the Republic.

To all these racists
and their hypocritical tolerance,

who built their nation on blood,

turn now to giving lessons.

Pillager of riches.

Killer of Africans.

Colonizers, torturer of Algerians.

This colonial past is yours.

You tied your history to ours!

[thunder rumbles]

Fuck you, racists!

Fuck your police!

Fuck your judges, your hypocrisy!

[Khadija exhales]

[Khadija] Hmm.


[speaking Bambara]

[Khadija in French]
Hey, Soulaymaan. Come here.

What's wrong?



[Khadija] Look!

I found this in Noumouké's room.

Demba has nothing to do with it.

Get up!

[speaks Bambara]

[Soulaymaan] Get over here!

Here, now!

Hey, how are you?

-Noumouké took it from Sahli's stash.

He stole it.

-He told you?
-He admitted it, yes.

We need to deal with this.

What do you mean "we"?
What are you gonna do?

-Mom knows?
-Yes, she found the money in his room.

Little idiot!

-Hope she doesn't think it came from me!
-She knows.


Tell the boy not to leave the house
till I deal with things.



Wrong day, Nadya. I'm late and that's all.

-I didn't say anything.

-[Soulaymaan] Hi, kids.
-[children] Hello.

[In English] Um... okay, guys.

Let's get to work.

I don't understand exercise A.

Number one or two?

The first one, please.

[indistinct chattering]

See you later, Soulaymaan.



What are you playing?

I've been calling you for days,
no answer.

Don't pretend
you didn't see my calls or texts.

You know my mom was hospitalized?

I know, but...

You can't take five minutes to call?

I can't deal with that right now.

Deal with what?

Better leave it at that, you and me.

I don't have a say?

-We've got the debate.
-Nothing new there.

Maybe we shouldn't see each other
so much. We're too different.

Oh, really? How so?

Listen, let's not...

No, please. Share your theory.
I'm interested.

We're too different!

Us, the blacks and Arabs of the suburbs,

and you, the white bourgeois
from Paris, okay?

I'm a little white bourgeois?

That's how you see me?

No, but... Listen.

Take your stupid photos!

You're so hung up!

You identify yourself as black
and live in fear others will do the same.

[siren wails in the distance]

We never promised each other anything.

[instrumental music playing]

You know your little brother
really fucked up, right?

-Sahli might think it came from you.
-He can think what he likes.

What does that mean?

If it were me, I'd go all the way.

-I'll go all the way if you don't pay me!
-See how he talks?

-I'm supposed to suck his dick, too?

We know how problems start,
not how they finish.

I have nothing to gain here.

How much was there?

-Fifty thousand.
-Says you!

Fifty thousand!


Let's try to move forward.

Don't believe him, don't pay.
Take responsibility. Okay?

I'll pay 25,000, not a cent more.

I won't pay for the girl,
I'm telling you now.

Already dealt with!

She'll work for me forever!

Kill her if you want.

Okay for the 25,000?

Yes, but when? I need it now!

You down to your last euros?

-I'll send Farid tomorrow.
-What time?

-Tomorrow I said!
-[Abdel] Whoa!

Hey, I backed you both.

Don't want one of you
stabbing me in the back.

I say it as it is.

-And I'm a bitch, is that it?
-[Demba] Up to you.

Oh, yeah?

-If you wanna take down Sahli, I'm in.
-I know.

Don't give a fuck about Abdel.
I'll take him down if I need to.

Abdel won't hurt me.

I stuck by him.

Be careful.

I heard he was involved in some shit
with guys from Marseille.

-He's in trouble.

Money, what else?

He's broke. Watch out.


[Sahli] His spot earns
ten to 15,000 a day.

More than me, son of a bitch!

[Abdel] Ten to 15,000 a day?

How much was in Sahli's stash?

Thirty thousand euros.

I swear! Thirty thousand euros.
I took 15 and Sofia 15.

I didn't spend a cent.

Now you start crying?


[engine turns over]

That piece of shit is here.

Stay where you are.

Don't bother, there's 15,00 euros.

[Sahli] We said 25,000, Demba.


There was 30,000 euros,
and you know it.

Take that or you'll get nothing!

-The fuck?

[Samir] Son of a bitch!
Move and I'll shoot!

[Demba] Get in the car.

[Abdou] Hey, Sahli, get up.

What are you lookin' at?

["Sans Nouvelles" by Keblack playing]


What's up, guys?

-How you doin'?
-Yeah, good.

Did you see Sahli?

Don't worry, he won't touch the kid.


I wanted to apologize
for what I said last time.

I didn't even think it.

[Demba] Don't worry,
we won't mention it again.

Farid said you asked him for a joint.
What's going on?

Fuck. I told him to keep his mouth shut.

Think he'd hide that from me?
You wanna smoke, don't come to us.

I've got the debate final tomorrow.

I was stressed out.

You don't need that.

Stick to your thing.

[Soulaymaan] I'm off.


Come by and see Mom sometime.
She'd be pleased.


Good evening, all.

The topic of this debate is the following:

Is the State solely responsible

for the current situation
in the French suburbs?

For the affirmative, Ms. Crèvecœur.

For the negative, Mr. Traoré.

The floor is yours.



My position is founded on the principles
of emancipation and responsibility.

Hers, without a doubt, on victimization.

On September 21, 1792,
the monarchy was abolished in France.

Today, our governors,
called "the State" for our debate,

don't find themselves in positions
of responsibility unintentionally.

These responsibility bulimics
go so far as to accumulate mandates.

And in doing so, they accumulate...

[audience] Responsibilities.

Allow me to cite two quotes,
Master Soulaymaan--

[Soulaymaan] Master!


I didn't ask for that.

I am but a mere law student.

However, it would be difficult for me
to call this individual "Master."

Not because of the painful history
of my ancestors,

made slaves by her ancestors
for over 400 years.

[audience murmurs]

It is difficult for me
to call her "Master"

because of the lamentable mediocrity
of her defense.



and ultimately, unconvincing.

But I'll let you find that out
for yourselves.

What a disappointment!

What a disappointment to learn
that my model,

the magnificent Soulaymaan...

Sorry, I mean...

-Soulaymaan the Magnificent...
-[audience laughs]

...finds my defense boring,

repetitive, and unconvincing.

Well, I'm not afraid to say it,
Great Master Soulaymaan,

I find you...





-Thank you!
-[audience laughs]

[Lisa] And so many other adjectives
ending with -ing.

[audience laughs]

[Soulaymaan] If we recognize the State

as solely responsible for the current
situation of the French suburbs,

we must then imagine these people believe
they have suffered a prejudice,

institute civil proceedings,

and demand compensation.

These so-called compensations
would be financed by the Crèvecœur tax.

-[audience laughs]
-A new tax also known as CVDFS.

But what is this CVDFS?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,

CVDFS is the Compensation
for the Victimization

and of total Dependence
of the French Suburbs.

An example?

I missed my train,

and I'm late for a job interview.

It's not because I overslept
by 15 minutes. No!

A small hit of CVDFS. [inhales]

[audience laughs]

It's the fault of the French State.

Lisa Crèvecœur, you don't want
these people to take control.

You only see their future through
the guise of unemployment benefits.

A way for you to limit their aspirations
and their success.

You need them to remain
permanently distressed and victimized.

What you need is for them to need you.

So that you feel less guilty.

Less guilty about all the comforts
you've had since childhood.

Not guilty about being white.

[audience murmurs]

"Less guilty about all the comforts
I've had since childhood," he tells us.

It's true that we're different
in many ways...

Us, the white bourgeois
from central Paris,

to you, the blacks and Arabs
from the suburbs.

I admit never having been in need.

From birth,
we were not in the same position.

Nothing new there.

-I was born in a private clinic.
-[audience laughs]

A clinic owned by my father,

who just so happens so be here with us.

Easily recognizable, he sits on a chair
covered in diamonds and rubies.

[audience laughs]

Shall I stop there?

I think you've understood

that I'm a white bourgeois woman
from central Paris.

Soulaymaan doesn't need to make this
the pillar of his defense.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
the Grand Soulaymaan before you

hopes that just by seeing him,

you will conclude
that social mobility exists.

He is what Malcolm X termed
a "house negro"

or what his own community calls
"a bounty."

Black on the outside
and white on the inside.

-Wow, she's giving it to him!
-[audience murmurs]

[instrumental music playing]

Zyed and Bouna...

Ali Ziri...

Adama Traoré...

All killed directly or indirectly
by the police,

the State's armed force.

How can you tell the families
of victims of police violence

that the State is in no way responsible.

Tell Amal Bentounsi,
who's here with us today,

whose brother was shot in the back
by a policeman,

that the State is not responsible

for the fact that the victims
of police violence

are most often
French of immigrant origin...

and that the police in these cases

are almost never condemned,
or otherwise with laughable sentences.

Mr. Traoré, a response?

[Soulaymaan] You know,

I never fantasized about life
in the suburbs,

to deform the reality
with the lens of a camera.

The suburbs? I know them.

I live there.

And it's true that in the suburbs
there is talent.

There are ideas.

There is intelligence.

There are dreams.

But life is about choices.

Lisa Crèvecœur,

when two drug dealers from the suburbs

make war for purely financial reasons,

and this war takes the life
of one of them,

is it the State who arms the assassin?

Is it the State who arms the assassin?

Forces him to pull the trigger?

Is it the State who prevents suburbanites
from coming together?

From uniting?

From improving their situation themselves?

Or to protect their youth
from making the same mistakes?

I'll tell you what prevents them!

It's greed...


and the total absence
of what we call "the common good."

Because there are two ways
to combat poverty.


or each man for himself.

It's always a matter of choice.

Please now conclude.

[Soulaymaan] Duels without armor...

A man and a woman
opposed by so many factors.

It's time to conclude, I devote myself,

turn my back on prose.

If my verse touches you,
stings your heart,

leaves you stranded
with a swift backhand,

oh, Queen of Bitterness,

call me Cyrano.

[audience laughs]

Who is the State?




Our so-called democratic system
is nothing but a masquerade.

The 49.3 law, the decrees are
but the tip of the iceberg.

The State is not the people,
as they haven't made decisions

on internal or foreign policy
for a long time.

I am not sure they ever did.

Who here feels they have real influence
on the future of this country when voting?

[Soulaymaan] Liberty is a fact.

I have it. I believe in it. I proclaim it.

Target for wrongdoing,
I don't shy from combat.

I'd rather raise my weapon.

I am not a spectator of my life.

I am its subject.

From nightmares, I survive
until my dreams become realized.

We are proposed,

or rather ordered,

to always vote for candidates
from the same cast.

Who share the same world vision.

But these people don't even act
on their election promises.

Those who pushed us
to appoint them to govern.

They pretend to divide into parties
and give us a choice.

But these stubborn careerists,
controlled by the ogres of finance,

have no scruples in passing
from one to another.

My hope flies on the wings
of my fearlessness.

My courage emerges
from the depths of adversity.

Audacious, proud, I take part willingly
in the battle of life.

Even when the battle inspires anger,
I take no pity.

[Lisa] "The State" is not you.

[Soulaymaan] I will never accept

that the State is responsible
for all my sorrows.

"The State" is not only the rich.

Accepting this idea means accepting
being a victim for the torturer.

"The State" is not only whites.

Accepting to be a victim
is akin to giving up arms.

Passive victimization
is fertile ground for defeat.

My very presence defeats your equation:

the suburbs plus poverty leads fatally
to the grave or incarceration.

"The State" hasn't recognized
the amplitude of moral damage,

caused by territorial,

and yes, I'll say it,
racial discrimination.

I, suburbanite of ebony skin,
disrupt your fantasies.

I tell you without sarcasm,
my place is not in prison.

"The State" is those who,
with the complicity of the media,

have succeeded in dividing our country

while coldly manipulating
the consequences

without ever thinking about the causes.

This comes with responsibility.

I won't give you, or the State,
the power to decide for me.

Victim or soldier,
remember which of the two I choose.

[Demba laughs]


He's a real Traoré!




-Listen, Lisa, for the last time...
-We didn't promise each other anything.

I shouldn't have insisted.

I've had a lot of problems lately.

I was overcome with stress.

I get it.

You don't have to explain. Don't worry.

-Whatever the result...
-I leave for London tomorrow...

for my internship.

-I don't know when I'll be back.
-When do you leave?

I just told you.


What time?

4:15 p.m., Gare du Nord station.

I'll be there to say goodbye.

The jury has deliberated. Let's go.


[Khadija] Traoré, Alhamdulillah.

[Khadija speaking Bambara]


[continues speaking Bambara]

[Samir] Yo, Lawman!

He's taking a seat!
We've become socially acceptable.

Need to get used to it.
You'll be my clients soon.

If we need you to avoid prison,
that means we've got no money!

I saw him defend, he's good!


Want a drink?

No time, gotta get the train.
Gotta meet someone.

Have a drink, I'll drop you off after.

Okay. An orange juice then.

You really impressed me yesterday.

-Yeah, but I didn't win.
-You didn't lose.

It was a tie. It was close!
Even I didn't know what to think.

I really liked what Mirabeau said.

-[Samir] Mirabeau was there?

President of the jury.

What did he say again?

-"You gave..."
-He's a big gun!

The lawyer I had for my last case
was from his firm. He's a killer!

Believe it or not, I have an interview
there on Monday for an internship.

So, I was saying, he said, "You haven't--"

-That's some serious shit.
-Shut up! Let me speak.

Listen. He said,
"You haven't given us answers,

but you allowed us to question
the ready-made answers we're given."


[gate buzzes]


Why you going to the station?

-The girl opposite me in the debate?

She's off to London for a year.

I just wanna say bye.

He's gonna get some!

That's crap!

-Leave him alone, he's discreet.
-[Samir] Soulaymaan, listen.

"In this country,
you gotta make money first.

When you get the money,
you get the power."

"When you get the power,
then you get the women."

-He knows it!
-Think I live in a cave or what?




I'll take you to the station.


Rim, tell Samir I'm taking my brother.






[instrumental music playing]

[whispering indistinctly]




Wake up, bro! Demba!

Wake up! Demba! Call an ambulance!

Demba! Wake up!

[Samir] Demba, Demba!


Call an ambulance!

Call an ambulance!

Call an ambulance!

["Banlieusards" by Kery James playing]