athena is the latest French film by Romain Gavras showing the chaos and tragedy that follows when a child is brutally murdered in the Athenian community. Soon after, the accusations point to the French police, who have already witnessed a recurring pattern of police brutality. Frustrated by the injustice, the youth of the community decide to take matters into their own hands, which leads to further destruction and loss.
athena is directed by the French filmmaker Romain Gavras, who has made films such as The world is Yours Y The Miserables. The film stars Dali Benssalah as Abdel, Sami Slimane as Karim, Anthony Bajon as Jerome, Ouassini Embarek as Moktar, Alexis Manenti as Sebastien, and Karim Lasmi as Imam. The running time of the movie is 1h 37min.
The Netflix synopsis says:
The tragic murder of a child triggers an all-out war in the Athena community, with the victim’s older siblings at the center of the conflict.
-Athena’s review contains minor spoilers-
The film opens with a shot of Abdel, a soldier speaking to the press about the loss of his brother. The perpetrators, who are suspected to be police officers, have not been caught and the number of cases of police brutality is on the rise. As the French police make a statement to calm the public, we see a group of masked men in black hoodies standing in the shadows.
Within seconds, chaos ensues as the leader, who we later discover is Abdel’s brother Karim, throws an explosive into the station as the rest of the group begins vandalizing and destroying property and stealing the safe from the station. police with all the guns A stolen police van with all the youth and guns are taken to their hideout as one of the members raises a French flag in the air to symbolize the start of their revolution.
The film is theatrical in nature where violence is portrayed using fireworks, bright lights and French operatic music. There is no time to understand the depth of what each character is experiencing due to the constant riots and gunfights. There are times when all the characters just scream and make noise, which gets repetitive after a point and makes you lose the gist of the story. Little time is spent developing all the characters.
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We see both sides of the story, the community of Athena, which has been taken over by the youth, portrayed as gloomy, post-apocalyptic and destructive, and on the other hand, the police who see the youth as troublesome and violent. and does everything in his power to silence them.
We see how in between all the back and forth, the characters don’t really have any control over what’s going on or what the end result of all this chaos will be, but they’re driven by their frustration and anger and they feel like violence is the only way to go. they will get results. He feels the loss of both Karim and Abdel, but he also gets frustrated at times with Karim when he is not willing to listen to his brother.
In the chaos of it all, a police officer is taken hostage for information on the men who killed Idir. The climax of the film is definitely shocking and unexpected. It leaves you wondering what exactly happened to the boy and why.
Final Thoughts: Athena
It’s interesting to see how women in history have been pushed aside. There is one instance where Abdel is trying to silence his sister because he is frustrated by her brutally honest words, and another where a young woman, who is one of the fighters, is told by a male character to drink grape juice. . Still, the film has its moments and helps to highlight the discrimination faced by members of the minority community and the lengths one must go to be heard when such a tragedy occurs.
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Athena is streaming on Netflix.