Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Evidence of Russian support for Ukrainian rebel counter-attack grows

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

Culture

US film star Samuel L. Jackson inspires Paris suburb

Video by Jérôme BONNARD , Willy BRACCIANO , Carla WESTERHEIDE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-14

US film star Samuel L. Jackson met young people in a Paris suburb on Tuesday, during a visit set up by the US ambassador to France to spotlight deprived districts that both French cinema and politics are accused of neglecting.

AFP - US film star Samuel L. Jackson met young people in a poor Paris suburb Tuesday, spotlighting deprived districts that mainstream French cinema, like its politicians, is accused of neglecting.
  
Jackson broke off his holidays along with his wife Latanya Richardson to visit Bondy, which was among many suburban districts or "banlieues" hit in 2005 by violent protests sparked by tensions between police and youths.
  
Jackson, 61, a black actor who grew up in the southern state of Tennessee at the time of racial segregation, drew parallels with the tensions that smoulder today in France's deprived immigrant districts, crippled by unemployment.
  
"When I was a small child... I actually believed I was a second-class citizen," he told a gathering in the eastern Paris suburb. "But my parents believed very strongly in me getting a good education."
  
He insisted that "of course" one day France could, like the United States, have a black president.
  
"I never believed that in my lifetime there would be an African-American president," he said.
  
"That was made possible because young people found out that their voice meant something," he added. "You are a voting bloc. You have the energy, the power to change the laws that need changing."
  
Jackson is known as the black-suited, Bible-quoting LA hitman Jules Winnfield in Quentin Tarantino's cult 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction", and the title role of the cop "Shaft" in a 2000 remake of the New York crime classic.
  
He said his favourite recent French film was "A Prophet", a jail drama about a young criminal from an immigrant background, which broke from the French film industry's regular run of middle-class comedies and glossy action films.
  
"We pictured a nation where it's like those Luc Besson films where everybody's doing 'parkour' and they're running along the walls," Jackson joked, referring to an extreme stunt technique used in Besson's banlieue fantasy "District 13".
  
"We're just making sure that's not really true," Jackson added.
  
His visit was set up by the US ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, a former entertainment industry executive who has run various cultural projects to reach out to the banlieues since his appointment by Obama last year.
  
Tuesday's gathering was staged in offices used by the Bondy Blog, an online news source set up during the 2005 riots.
  
The blog came to be regarded as a useful source as reporters grappled with coverage of neighbourhoods that had received relatively little media attention.
  
"It's important for us to give a different image of the banlieue, because we have been rather stigmatised by the press due to the riots," said Khir-Din Grid, a 23-year-old student and aspiring film-maker.
  
"I am very happy that Samuel L. Jackson comes, but what I'd like to see is those in power in France, as well as actors and film-makers... come here and talk to the young people," he told AFP.
  
Nacim Ben Younes, a local 21-year-old student and aspiring actor, said he was "inspired" by Jackson but complained that as usual journalists and officials hogged the microphone and few of the young locals' voices were heard.
  
"He said you have to be ready to seize opportunities, but will there always be opportunities that come? I'm afraid of never getting that opportunity," he told AFP.
  
"There are only two or three film-makers in France who are interested in the banlieue," he added, naming among them Jacques Audiard, whose "A Prophet" was nominated for an Oscar this year and won several awards at France's equivalent, the Cesars.
  
"It's very difficult to become an actor in France," Younes said. "Casting agents ask if you're from the banlieue and you're just not taken seriously."

Date created : 2010-04-14

COMMENT(S)