Wednesday, 14 November 2012


A thought-provoking film about child protection.

This hard-hitting French drama has a bite that leaves a permanent scar. Polisse (2011) centers on true-life cases conducted by the Paris Child Protection Unit which handles, amongst other barely describable incidents, child molesters, underage pickpockets, abusive parents, the excesses of teenage sexuality all in a ‘normal’ days work. In between which they have to balance their own private lives and hang-ups.

A job where it's difficult not to get attached to the victims.

Directed and written by Maiwenn[1], who also appears in the movie as Melissa a photographer on assignment from the Ministry of the Interior to cover the CPU. She got the idea from a documentary she saw on French TV on the Unit, which moved her to make this feature film.  In an interview she explained her involvement with the film as follows: What I wrote was based only on stories I had actually witnessed or on stories the officers told me. I changed a few things about some of the cases but I didn’t invent any of them. I got to know precisely what these police officers did on a daily basis, and I didn’t want to skip any of their everyday duties: I wanted to mention pedophiles, incest in an upper-class family, the teenage environment etc. On the other hand I found it important to show that when police officers deal with a case they follow it as long as the defendant is in custody but they are not necessarily informed of the verdict. They need to deal with one case after another very quickly in order not to be emotionally involved in any of them. So I was determined not to let the viewer know what becomes of the defendants, because police officers don’t know what happens to them either.[2]

Exceptional acting from some well known French actors.

The film makes France’s capital city seem a highly unsafe place for children but in all honesty its probable no different from any where else in the world including our own towns and cities where child abuse seems to have been swept under the carpet for many years and the higher up the cultural and social scale you are the more chance you have of being protected and getting away with these horrendous crimes.

The director.

Pierre Aim’s camera work on this immensely depressing documentary style film makes the viewer feel like your part of the action rather than just a voyeur in a cinema seat.  A thought-provoking film that’s really worth seeing but don’t expect any comfy conclusions.

[1] Maiwenn was married to Luc Besson between 1992 and 1997
[2] English press kit issued by Wild Bunch.

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