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France, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Towering Over The Eiffel – New French Cinema)

Director: Jacques Doillon

With a dramatic centre as deceptively simple as the best Iranian films—a dog is stolen—Little Fellas is a moving portrait of young people with their own code of honour and responsibility.

Talia is a 13-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister. When her stepfather returns after a year's absence. Talia accuses him of molesting her sister. Enraged, he demands that she ditch her beloved pitbull, Kim. Talia and Kim take off for a nearby housing project in search of a friend who has moved on. She hooks up with an interracial group of four young pals, who gain her trust, only to steal Kim. These 'Little Fellas' blame the 'Big Fellas' on the theft. Problems ensue when the police enter the scene and one of the 'Little Fellas', lllies, falls for Talia and wants to return her dog. Both intimate and engaging, Jacques Doillon's new film evokes La Haine in portraying a deeply rooted sense of neighbourhood solidarity and an attitude that is not so much 'against the police as it is unequivocally 'for' themselves.

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