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TOPIC: french riots


“How Do The French Feel?" — Director Alice Diop's Vision Of A Nation Torn In Two

The death of Nahel, a 17-year-old killed by a police officer in Nanterre, France, and subsequent riots shocked the world. It's familiar territory for acclaimed film director Alice Diop, whose latest project, “Saint Omer,” was France’s nominee for the best foreign language film at the Oscars, examining what it means to be an immigrant, or the child of immigrants, in France.

PARIS — The RER B is a “blue line” of the Paris regional high-speed rail network. Anyone who has been to Paris has sat on this train on their way from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Châtelet-Les Halles, or, one stop further, to Notre Dame, near the center of the city. The train, known by some commuters as the Ligne Bleue, stretches for 80 kilometers, connecting the city’s Northern suburbs with its Southern surroundings.

The railway connects majority white neighborhoods full of single-family homes to the historical, tourist-heavy center, and to the immigrant communities of the Parisian banlieues. Every day, 1 million passengers use it to make their daily commute. Those who enter represent Paris in a nutshell, or even the whole of France. As the train makes its way from North to South, the color of its stations changes, but so does the landscape: faces, color, style, clothes and even sound.

Tourists from central Paris, intimidated by the historic city, take the train together, fatigue in their eyes, their postures slumped. They are surrounded by a mélange of parents with children, wide-eyed newlyweds staring at each other, laughing friends. On this journey through the French capital, fragments of Spanish sentences mix with German words, overlapping with conversations in Chinese. Half of the passengers eventually step off, spreading out between hotels and shopping malls. Their backpacks are slowly substituted by West African boubous and colorful headscarves. The faces grow more tired.

For these passengers, squeezing themselves through Paris at rush hour is not an adventure, but an everyday reality, necessary for their return home. Today, at least, the train is running properly. Yesterday, the delays — and the surrounding crowds— were unbearable. An accident on the train tracks caused traffic to stop entirely for an hour and a half.

Alice Diop knows the compartments of the RER B very well. The French film director grew up not far from the Aulnay-sous-Bois station. This is the infamous département 93, which is often described as one of the least safe in the entire country.

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Israel Raids West Bank, France Riots Abate, Philippines Tourism Lies

👋 Aniin!*

Welcome to Monday, where at least five are killed as Israel launches a large-scale operation in the West Bank, China sees hottest six months on record, and a Filipino advertising agency gets caught using videos from foreign countries. Meanwhile, we look at the origins of France’s particular “tradition” of car burning.

[*Ojibwe, Canada]

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