First of all, I want to say something about a pair of Parisian twenty-somethings I met at a street vendor’s crepe cart in 2010.
I was trying to remember French prepositions I didn’t learn in high school so I could ask for Nutella and coconut on my crepe when two sleek young black men who looked like dancers from Madonna's “Truth or Dare” introduced themselves like this:
“Hello. Please, please say aus coco, again.”
So I did and when they stopped laughing they lamented their lives in Paris with the same hopeless tone of street people begging for money for food. “Paris is so boring. Please, there is nothing to do here. We are dying of the boredom.” They wanted to live in the United States, where life is like in the movies.
“You are from Arizona? Cow-boy!”
I thought about how when I was a teenager, all of my pals would have lived in Paris given the chance. Then I thought about how young people are bored no matter where they are.
Swagger. Dir. Olivier Babinet. 2016
“Swagger” is a beautiful environmental portrait of a group of African and Middle Eastern youth at a school in a rough neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris. The things they talk about are the same things young people everywhere talk about: Dreams, love, the future, and what it feels like to be an outsider.
But when they speak of being outsiders, it's with a bittersweet degree of understanding of the World that most of us don’t have the credentials for. They dream of being French and living in Paris; and even though they are, they aren’t.
So close and yet so far away.
If you like honesty, light, hope and laughter or even if you don’t like any of those things and the only thing in life you like is drone photography, see this movie.