How far should a mother's love stretch? For Michele (Ascaride), it means prostituting herself in order to score heroin for her junkie daughter.
It's back to basics for Robert Guediguian after the wayward brilliance of A L'Attaque!, and the tactic pays off handsomely. Interweaving several stories with precision and compassion, he explores the worrying breakdown of community and civility in a supposedly multi-cultural society.
Giving another impeccable performance, Ascaride toils in a fish factory to fund her teenage daughter's cold turkey programme. To bump up her income she prostitutes herself to Darroussin, a lonely docker-turned-cabby. With drugs, violence and racism becoming casually everyday, this tinderbox town is anything but quiet. Through his insider's tour, Guediguian forces us to share in its tension and despair. Gruelling but compelling stuff.
Firmly handled by director Robert Guediguian and with a storming performance from Ariane Ascaride, it shows how modern life pushes people to extremes.
Reviewed by David Parkinson