TL;DR – A fascinating narrative of life on the outskirts of Paris and what it means for the people that live there.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Like many cities today Paris is a tale of two halves, the city and then the outer suburbs. There are times when they are almost two different worlds even though they are deeply interconnected. Within these worlds and the stories of those lives that are shaped by their worlds, their struggles, and the forces they can’t control.
On the outskirts of Paris lives Soulaymaan (Jammeh Diangana), his brother Noumouké (Bakary Diombera), and their mother Khadijah (Kani Diarra). Soulaymaan is preparing for his final exam as part of his law degree, hoping to create a better life for him and his family. However, his younger brother is at a crossroads, he could follow in Soulaymaan’s path or that of his brother Demba (Kery James) who run drugs in the local area after spending some time in jail.
world is explored through two different yet intersecting stories. On the one
hand, we have a problem with Noumouké who has started fighting at school. He
feels destined to go down the road of his brother, a road of drugs, money, and
jail. However, Noumouké like the idea of that world but not the reality which
he discovers when it stuffs up badly. On the other hand, we have Soulaymaan who
is in his last year at University studying law. As part of the final
preparation he has to appear in a great debate against another student Lisa (Chloé
Jouannet). The topic is that “The State
is responsible for what is happening in the suburbs” with Soulaymaan
arguing that it is not.
Because these two stories complement each other, they mirror the highs and lows of each side. As things start to unravel at home and Demba steps up to be a more positive role model for Noumouké it also comes at the point where Soulaymaan is shaken to his core and set of in a spiral. There is a lot to champion in this film and one area that I want to give so much credit for is the powerful performance of Kani Diarra staying strong in the face of everything going wrong around her. There is real pain throughout this film, a pain that comes from living this experience. This is a film that does not shy away from the realities of life in the suburbs nor does it glamorise them. It is a lens into the real, the real of living life as part of group excluded by society.
is clearly a passion project for writer/director/star Kery James and we see the
strength of that throughout the film. The real highlight for me was a bit
towards the end so there will be some [SPOILERS]
here. The climax of the film is the said debate, which does a really good job
of touching on all the themes and plot points brought up throughout the film. Because
the relationship between Lisa and Soulaymaan is somewhat strained there is
tension from the moment they walk in. Then when the debate starts it quickly
evolves from a point/counterpoint back and forth into a clash of words. There
is a musical flow to the debate as they duel words and ideas, each making some
biting commentary about each other. Also while this is going on they are
reconciling with each other whilst also taking each other down. It was a really
fascinating moment of drama and I would recommend the film just for that.
In the end, do we recommend Street Flow? Yes, yes we do. It has strong performances, it is dealing with issues that need to be explored, and its narrative is constructed in a really compelling way.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched Street Flow?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Street Flow
Directed by – Leïla Sy & Kery James
Written by – Kery James
Music by – Kery James
Cinematography by – Pierre Aïm
Edited by – Nelly Quettier
Production/Distribution Companies – Srab Films, Les Films Velvet, L’Insensé Films & Netflix
Starring – Kery James, Jammeh Diangana, Bakary Diombera, Chloé Jouannet, Kani Diarra, Slimane Dazi, Noemie Bousquainaud, Kader Boukhanef & Dali Benssalah
Rating – Around an Australia: MA15+;