French cinema usually excels with this sort of, gritty, poverty-stricken story, and here Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh have done well to put a new spin on an established theme. Teenagers Alseni Bathily ("Youri") and his friend "Houssam" (Jamil McCraven) are desperately trying to keep their dilapidated housing complex up and running, cannibalising just about anything they can find just to keep the lights on and the lifts working. They encounter the helpful "Diana" (Lyna Khoudri) and for a while they just about manage to keep their ship afloat. Until, that is, the local authorities decide the thing is just a deathtrap and they must all relocate... What's new? Well young "Youri" has pretty much been abandoned by his mother, so the building is not just his home, it is very much his raison d'être. It was opened by the renowned cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, and this inspired in the young man many years later a fascination with the stars, with space - and as the end nears for his home, we enter a realm of fantasy allegorical to his impending homelessness that is both poignant and engaging. The performance from this young man is attractive - despite the relative grimness of his surroundings and the indifference of just about everyone around him, he retains a sense of decency, of optimism - and yes, even a little sense romance too. It's not without it's humour either - a would-be astronaut with vertigo - and though the end is maybe just a little surreal, this film is well worth a watch,
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Yuri fights to save his home town - which he shares with his namesake, Yuri Gagarin - from demolition.
December 30, 2021