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Asphalt Playground

La Cité Rose

FEATURE FILM 99'
Comedy drama

“Where I come from, when you stop dreaming, you die”
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Directed by

Julien Abraham (Asphalt Playground, Made in China)

Starring

Azize Diabate Abdoulaye
Idrissa Diabate
Ibrahim Koma
Ismaël Ouazzani
Juliette Lamboley

Production

Nicolas Blanc – Ex Nihilo

2012 / Original language: French / Color / 1.85 / Dolby SR - SRD / available in hd & 2k

Twelve-year old Aimé, nicknamed Machine Gun, is a mischievous kid from a housing project outside Paris, where families live alongside criminals and mothers try to keep their kids out of trouble.
The hood isn’t an easy place to grow up, but Machine Gun wouldn't trade it for any other! And right now, like all acne-riddled boys his age, his obsession is girls! In fact, he has a major crush on Oceane, the prettiest girl in his class, and would do just about anything to seduce her.
In the building across the way lives Mohawk, his best friend, a crafty kid he’s known since kindergarten, with whom he likes commentating police operations from the comfort of their windows. There’s also Machine Gun’s cousin Isma, a funny and proud kid who spends his days on rooftops, being a lookout for local drug dealers, trying to be like Tony Montana. And his brother Djibril, 22, the family’s pride and joy, a brilliant law student who dreams of the good life and has a troubled relationship with his girlfriend Lola, a white upper-middle class girl.
But the day Isma tries to set up a coke deal between his bosses and a rival gang, all their lives suddenly spin out of control…
Between violence and good-natured humor, an energetic, funny and moving film that casts a realistic yet tender look at the lives of teens in rough neighborhoods.

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A film by
Julien Abraham

First Assistant Director
Ferdinand Verhaegue
(Snows of Kilimanjaro)

Production manager
Malek Hamzaoui
(Snows of Kilimanjaro, Venus Beauty Institute, Marius and Jeannette)

Coproducers
Kwami Abidonou, Thibault Abraham, Sadia Diawara - DGK Films

Producer
Nicolas Blanc – Ex-Nihilo

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I had the idea for "Asphalt Playground" on discovering "City of Men", a violent yet amusing TV series on the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. This Brazilian series, with its dazzling rhythm, unanimously voted Best International Series (Gold FIPA in 2004) shows the favela in all its poverty and splendor. This inspired the idea of showing France's housing projects in a new light, without dwelling on their sordid side.

Between violence and humor, "Asphalt Playground" aims to be a realist film, making no concessions towards the different groups brought into play but finding room for spectacle, laughter and emotion. Machine Gun is a touching adolescent, a long way from the caricature of disenfranchised suburban youth.

Machine Gun, 13, lives in a housing project outside Paris. The day after his birthday, he is kidnapped. From the place where he is held, he tells us about the events leading up to his kidnapping. Our hero, despite being caught up in the turbulent events of his housing project, nonetheless remains fond of the place where he grew up and describes it to us in a tender manner.

Pitched between a dramatic tale and a modern comedy, "Asphalt Playground" is above all a generational film that aims to be as realistic as possible. From casting to shooting, the way in which we tackled the film is similar to the method used by the Brazilian director Walter Salles on his films. This is a film in which the local inhabitants are involved in the shooting, both in front of and behind the camera. To make the heroes of this story as real as possible, the idea is to shoot the film with youngsters from these so called "difficult" neighborhoods. The casting process will unfold with youth workers and local associations. Two of the co-producers themselves come from the "Pink Project" in Pierrefitte sur Seine where we shall shoot the film.

Once casting is complete, with the actor and screenwriter Diouc KOMA we foresee a long period of preparation with the young actors. Twice a week, they will take part in acting classes so that they will already form a group of friends when it comes to shooting. To make a film that gets as close as possible to reality, it is important to pay attention to the young actors who, in return, will nourish the screenplay.

Production management will be handled by Eva Kwami ABIDONOU (co-producer) who guarantees us access to the different projects with active participation of all the inhabitants.

We shall shoot with two cameras to capture the reality of the scene as best we can and to avoid interrupting the young actors in their performance. Both in filming and editing, it will be possible to detect the influence of such films as "City of God" or "Slumdog Millionaire".

Music will be very present throughout the film, as in the lives of these adolescents. The camera moves a great deal and the editing with stress this feeling of speed. The viewers have to feel caught up in the adventure of the project, emerging from it only at the end of the film, their heads full of discoveries and colors…

Far from the frightening image of the housing projects, "Asphalt Playground" humanizes these neighborhoods that also exist in Rio, Mexico City, New York or Johannesburg, by making room for the culture of their inhabitants and family traditions, but without turning a blind eye to their violence…

Julien ABRAHAM

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Gijon International Film Festival 2013
In Competition, section "Enfants Terribles" :
Best Film in Enfants Terribles for teenagers



Schlingel International Film Festival 2013
In Official Competition, "Youth Film” section :
ECFA Award (European Children Film Association)



43rd Giffoni Film Festival 2013
GENERATOR + 13 section
Bottega Digitale Award


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“A solid script and extremely vibrant acting”
Premiere

“a clever screenplay”
Studio Cinelive

“Hits you like a machine gun”
“A story with the excitement of crime drama and the passion of Greek tragedy”
Journal du Dimanche

“A great film”
BFM TV

“A moving film that rings true and tells the truth”
France Info

“A beautiful study of family and friendship with a very endearing gang of kids”
RTL

“a different look at the projects, far from the usual clichés.”
Le Figaro

"Asphalt Playground radiates with energy that gives it communicative power”
Le Monde

“Filled with energy and honesty”
Libération

“A film we’ve really been waiting for”
Le Parisien

“a truly wonderful surprise.”
Version Femina

“An original look at the projects, subtle, nuanced”
Ouest France

“rich and invigorating”
La Provence

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Available in :

Neutral Spanish