Bringing Hasna Aït Boulahcen’s real story to reel

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Like many films that depict poverty or crime, films about the Paris banlieues more often than not reinforce harmful stereotypes. Filmmakers aren’t necessarily badly intentioned, but they’re unaware of the real-life consequences their stories can have. Take an example from last year’s Cannes Film Festival: after The Stronghold (Bac Nord), a crime drama set in Marseille’s banlieues, was premiered, an Irish journalist asked the director if he was conscious that this was an important election year in France, and that since the film portrayed people from the banlieues as violent and hostile, that m…

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