La Ville Est Tranquille review

After the whimsical comedy A L'Attaque, Marseilles film-maker Robert Guédiguian returns with this intimate epic, his most ambitious work to date. Like Amores Perros and Code Inconnu, the superbly shot La Ville Est Tranquille tracks the overlapping paths of a range of characters, the majority of whom are simply engaged in the battle for daily survival.

The title is deeply ironic: far from being quiet, Marseilles is depicted as being beset by racial tensions (notably the rise of the Far Right), social deprivation and civic corruption, despite the efforts of the authorities to rebrand the area as a tourist destination.

Among the director's regular troupe of actors, his real-life wife Ariane Ascaride contributes an agonising performance as the harassed mother desperately attempting to care for her heroin-addicted teenage daughter.

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