In “Les Miserables”, three BAC police officers commit a mistake filmed by a drone in Montfermeil. A film for which Ladj Ly drew on his memories and was inspired by real events, in particular for the flight of the lion cub.
Wretched : when a drone films a blunder
First fiction feature film by Ladj Ly, member of the Kourtajmé collective who co-directed the documentary Out loud, Wretched begins just after the victory of the French team at the 2018 World Cup. Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) has just joined the anti-crime brigade of Montfermeil and begins his patrols alongside Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga).
His first day begins with a confrontation between young people from the city of Bosquets and gypsies, who accuse them of having stolen a lion cub. The trio begin to investigate the case and discover that a teenager named Issa (Issa Perica) has taken a picture of himself with the animal. Their attempt at arrest turns tragic, Gwada shooting LBD point-blank in the boy’s face.
Realizing the blunder was filmed by a drone, Chris refuses to take Issa to the hospital, wanting to destroy the video first. At the same time, tensions erupt in the city. As for Stéphane, his illusions crumble very quickly because of the methods of his colleagues.
Al-Hassan Ly, Steve Tientcheu, Almamy Kanouté and Jeanne Balibar complete the cast of this drama released in 2019. Awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Wretched also wins three Caesars : Best Film, Best Editing and Best Male Newcomer for Alexis Manenti.
A film for which Ladj Ly was inspired by his experience
To construct the plot of the feature film, the director partly based himself on his experience and that of those close to him. In the press kithe explains in particular:
For five years, with my camera, I filmed everything that happened in the neighborhood, and especially the cops, I did copwatch. As soon as they landed, I took my camera and filmed them, until the day I caught a real blunder.
A blunder that Ladj Ly films on October 14, 2008. The journalists of the site Street 89 publish the video immediately. At the microphone of France Interthe filmmaker remembers:
There was an investigation by the IGS following this, suspended police officers. It was a first in France, the fact that police officers were suspended following a video.
Before inspiring him for his feature film, this experience first gave birth to the short film Wretchedwhich is based on a similar plot and is shot with part of the crew, including the three main actors.
The story of the lion cub
Another situation for which Ladj Ly drew on his experience is that of the theft of the lion cub, which actually took place about twenty years before the release of the film. In an interview given to First alongside the director and Alexis Manenti, who co-wrote the feature film with him, screenwriter Giordano Gederlini specifies:
This story is famous! She is at least twenty years old and had made a lot of noise at the time. There were a lot of fantasies. He said to himself that the guys from Montfermeil were fighting cocks with the lion…
Ladj Ly adds:
While it was a very small lion cub! (He takes out his cell phone and shows us a portrait of him at the time with the animal.) There is not a district of Île-de-France which has not been aware of this story, it there were even articles in the newspapers.