At its core, Les Rascals is a very difficult film to describe. People have made comparisons to some kind of cross between La Haine and Goodfellas. With the former, I get it; with the latter, I don’t see it. The latter probably is derived from where the film’s title comes from. Les Rascals refers to a group of boys living in 1980s Paris. They’re of a variety of colours and creeds. Rudy (Jonathan Feltre) is their leader. Rico, neé Ahmed (Missoum Slimani), is the hothead. They band together after an incident when a group of skinheads jump them when they were eleven-year-olds.
Years later while at a record store, the Rascals come across the lead skinhead, Loki. Rico hospitalizes him in a brutal beating that is witnessed by Loki’s sister, Frédérique (Angelina Woreth, Jessica Forever). Frédérique turns to neo-Nazi in training Adam (Victor Meutelet), which places a hit upon the Rascals.
Les Rascals is ultimately playing with too many balls in the air for me to properly discuss in this short space. There’s a substantial amount of plot in the film, as evidenced by the lengthy (and not even close to fulsome) recap provided above. Thus, it’s hard to tell if the film is fully effective. The film is smart, as numerous shots convey external meaning through mis-en-scene and composition.
The film seems to understand that the system is broken, just as much as specific individuals are. How the film plays with history is impressive too, with Le Pen Sr.’s FN party being the driving force for alt-right thinking. Unfortunately, because the film doesn’t quite come together, it’s hard to tell if some of the film’s structural components are as responsible as they should be. Still, Les Rascals offers an exciting and stirring look at how past is prologue.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Drama
- Release Date: 7/25/2023
- Directed by: Jimmy Laporal-Trésor
- Starring: Angelina Woreth, Emerick Mamilonne, Jonathan Eap, Jonathan Feltre, Marvin Dubart, Missoum Slimani, Taddeo Kufus
- Produced by: Manuel Chiche, Nicolas Blanc, Sarah Egry, Violaine Barbaroux
- Written by: Jimmy Laporal-Trésor, Sébastien Birchler, Virak Thun
- Studio: Agat Films & Cie / Ex Nihilo, Spade