this childhood memory that inspired the film to the director

This Monday, January 16, 2023 at 9:10 p.m., France 3 is broadcasting The French, a film by Cédric Jimenez with Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche in the main roles. Based on the true story of judge Pierre Michel and his fight against heroin trafficking in Marseille, this feature film has a very special flavor for the director because it was inspired by a childhood memory.

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This Monday, January 16, 2023, France 3 takes us back fifty years with the broadcast at 9:10 p.m. of the film The French, by Cedric Jimenez. Indeed, this feature film, which seduced the French public but which the foreign press blastedimmerses us in the Marseilles of the 70s. Very far from the smooth and clean image of the city in More beautiful lifewhose return to the Internet is becoming clearer, Marseille is depicted as the world capital of heroin trafficking. This is not the first time that the cinema has taken an interest in this theme since, already, in 1971, the film French Connectionot approached the subject, telling the fight of two narcotics cops (or “stups”, according to the jargon used) against drug trafficking from Marseille in the streets of New York.

Gilles Lellouche and Jean Dujardin, best enemies

This time, Cédric Jimenez has chosen to tell this story from the French side, focusing on the two antagonists of the case. On the one hand, the Marseille godfather Tany Zampaembodied by Gilles Lellouche, who then reigned supreme over Marseille. On the other, Judge Pierre Michel, played by Jean Dujardin, who led a fierce fight against drug trafficking in the city. A fight that cost him his life, since he was assassinated on October 21, 1981.

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A very precise memory of the director

If Cédric Jimenez absolutely insisted on evoking this story, it is because it calls up many memories in him… “My father had a restaurant-jazz club on the Pointe Rouge beach in Marseille. Some faces from the middle passed by, from time to time”he explains in the film’s press kit. “Gaëtan Zampa’s brother ran the bar next door. This is the universe in which I grew up as a child. And I remember very well the day when we learned of the assassination of Judge Michel. The news shook the whole town.”. And the director adds: “Through this story, I also wanted to tell Marseille“.

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