‘Les Misérables’: French Cinema Is Insular, and Director Ladj Ly Wants to Shake It Up

  • Indiewire
‘Les Misérables’: French Cinema Is Insular, and Director Ladj Ly Wants to Shake It Up
Ladj Ly’s racially charged feature debut, “Les Misérables,” which won the 2019 Jury Prize at Cannes, was selected by France’s Oscar committee as the country’s submission for the international feature film competition. It was a historical decision, as it marked the first time that France chose a film by a black filmmaker to represent it at the Academy Awards.

Now officially nominated in the category, should it win, it would set another record: the first time that a film by a black filmmaker has won the Oscar in the seven decades the category has existed.

Ly faces stiff competition, with Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” almost guaranteed to win the category. However, Ly understands the context of his nomination for his career, but for other black French filmmakers as well.

“You can probably count the number of black filmmakers in France on one hand, because French cinema is
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