Swagger | Chicago Reader

Swagger

Shot in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a troubled suburb of Paris, this engaging 2016 documentary follows 12 teenagers of color who have that je ne sais quoi: a sense of style that goes beyond fashion and an equanimity that belies their difficult circumstances. The movie is visually striking, with crisp cinematography from Timo Salminen (The Man Without a Past), and the teens are funny, poised, and insightful as music-video veteran Oliver Babinet leads one into their dual worlds of daily life and fantasy. Such high production elements as dance and 3-D animation, incorporated into the departure-from-reality sequences, elevate what might have been a condescending human interest piece into a multifaceted work. In French with subtitles.

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