Les Misérables: the filming locations
Les Misérables, a critically acclaimed realism
Les Misérables is a dramatic thriller directed by Ladji Ly and written by him, Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti.
The film is based on the eponymous short film shot by the same director in 2016. Winner of an award at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and nominated in the Best Short Film category at the César Awards in 2018, it already had Djebril Zonga, Damien Bonnard and Alexis Manenti in its cast.
Praised by critics for its great realism and compared to Mathieu Kasovitz’s The Hatred of Mathieu Kasovitz, it was noticed when it was released and sold over half a million tickets after only one week of operation in November 2019. Today, more than two million spectators have seen Les Misérables in the cinemas.
In the heart of the Parisian suburban cities
Les Misérables tells the story of the lives of people living in the Paris suburbs and their relationships with the police officers in their neighbourhoods. The spectators thus follow Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) who has joined Montfermeil’s anti-crime brigade. He discovered the difficulties of his job and his non-recognition alongside Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga), his new team-mates.
The film also looks back at the tensions between the bacqueux and the inhabitants of the city. LBD or drone fire, everything is subject to sparks.
Nominated in the Best Foreign Film category of the Oscars – but not awarded – this feature film was inspired by a 2008 misadventure in the Cité des Bosquets in Montfermeil. Two policemen from Gagny had deliberately beaten 20-year-old student Abdoulay Fofana, but also by the 2005 riots that saw Zyed and Bouna, pursued by policemen, die.
The feature was mainly filmed in the towns of Montfermeil and Clichy-sous-Bois. Discover his filming locations.
La cité du Chêne pointu, 93390 Clichy-sous-Bois
Ladji Ly came to shoot at the City of Pointed Oak in Clichy-sous-Bois. A few steps from the town hall, this popular district – two thirds of the inhabitants live below the poverty line – was built from the 1960s onwards. These women and men are trying to survive despite their financial difficulties. State services have abandoned them. The film sums up with great accuracy these multiple lives, the resourcefulness but also the solidarity. Even if sometimes the violence is stronger in Les Misérables – as some inhabitants confide to the few journalists who come to interview them – life is hard to evil in this city.
The Sequano-Dionysian city is recognizable in Les Misérables. The market square or the Salah, a kebab restaurant on the Avenue de Sévigné, are part of the scenery.
Jeanne Balibar, the film’s curator, will return to the city some time later to direct her first feature film, Merveilles à Montfermeil.
La cité des Bosquets, 93370 Montfermeil, France.
Les Misérables is supposed to take place at La cité des Bosquets in Montfermeil. Neighbouring Clichy-sous-Bois, it has been renovated, hence Ladjy Ly’s decision to prefer the town of Seine-Saint-Denis to it.
However, spectators can still recognize the city when the police check teenage girls at a bus stop. They’re being taken on by backyard backyard Chris. One of them films the scene but the policeman throws his mobile phone on the floor. Just arrived from the North, Stéphane is appalled by the methods of his teammates.
Like Djebril Zonga, the director of Les Misérables grew up in this city. He also shot his first short films with Kim Chapiron, Romain Gavras or JR (365 days in Clichy-Montfermeil). He has also made videos with the singer Oxmo Puccino or documentaries, notably aloud: la force de la parole with Stéphane de Freitas. To extend his film work, he created the Kourtrajmé school in Montfermeil, a free school for film professions. All the young actors were cast in the neighbourhoods of both cities.
Les Champs-Elysées, place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris
In 2018, the French men’s football team won its second world title, Ladji Ly took the opportunity to shoot scenes of popular jubilation for his film. Thus, spectators discover fans on the Champs-Elysées or on the Trocadero esplanade. It is the famous Parisian avenue that serves as the set for the feature film. The French director, born in 1978, also wanted to show that France could be one, one with the others.
Ladji Ly’s feature film won over the Cannes Film Festival jurors. He was awarded the Jury Prize, presided over by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Multi-awarded, it won a special mention from AFCAE (French Association of Art Cinemas), the Ornano-Valenti Prize at the Deauville American Film Festival, the Best European Film at the 2020 Goyas and three trophies at the International Press Lumière Awards.
To complete the filming of Les Misérables, the crews set up their cameras in Pantin, rue Scandicci for Ruiz’s apartment, as well as at Raincy in Seine-Saint-Denis for the opening scene in the metro.
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The café of Amélie, the mansion of Untouchables, the jazz club of the finale of La La Land, the Hôtel du Nord of the mythical replica of Arletty “Atmosphere”, the cinema of A bout de souffle, the restaurant of Ratatouille, the quays of the Seine of Midnight in Paris, the secret places of the Da Vinci Code, the grocery store of January in La Traversée de Paris , the Bridge of Inception and Peur sur la ville, the addresses of the spectacular scenes of Mission Impossible 6, but also series Call my agent, Gears, Le Bureau des légendes, Sense8, Sex and The City, Gossip Girl…
Etienne Daho’s Café de Flore, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hotel in Nas in Paris, Serge Gainsbourg’s Poinçonneur des Lilas metro station, Serge Reggiani and Marc Lavoine’s Mirabeau Bridge, Mc Solaar’s Lyon station…
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By Anthony Thibault
From the "Casimir generation", Anthony has kept (in addition to a passion for Goldorak) a taste for inventive images, experimentation and curiosity. Passionate about travel and pop culture, he co-founded Fantrippers with Nicolas Albert to share his passion with as many people as possible.