Ma 6-T va Crack-er (Richet, 1997)

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What makes the British “Angry Young Man” films of the 1960’s so potent is their dual purpose as critique and character study, two dilemma’s clashing within a cinematic context. Such a dichotomy becomes moot in Ma 6-T va Crack-er (Crack City) as poor young men scream that political anger equates to violent unrest, a necessary evil for the lower classes facing blatant oppression by police and the French Government. But the film’s success or failure as a social outcry depends on the characters being repressed, the human face of the dire war between the classes. In this case a group of multinational young men, jobless and penniless, are consistently hellbent on having a good time and antagonizing the police. Unfortunately, these characters never step beyond their one-note cinematic purpose as pawns in this flimsy revolution. Director Jean-Francois Richet represents most of them as capable, even intelligent people, who’ve been pushed into the cracks of society by an uncaring elite. But surprisingly, their idle chatter about racism, police brutality, and government oppression comes from a place of pure ignorance because the film itself is a blatant, simplistic propaganda piece. These men roam the streets, looking for trouble and their actions often turn violent, eventually even deadly, but their plight evokes indifference instead of outrage. Richet does wonderfully infuse an experimental juxtaposition of a music video into the narrative, both forms participating in the violence simultaneously. But aside from this dynamic moment, Crack City plays like a broken record, condemning the violence of France’s police state while gloriously reveling in the act itself.

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2 thoughts on “Ma 6-T va Crack-er (Richet, 1997)

  1. Wow– talk about a REALLY new look to a blog. This is like night and day (or, in this case, day and night — with white taking the place of black). And the photos are used soooooo large. But I like this, too. It makes its point — if change and color and wham! are what you most want. Your ideas and writing, so far as I am concerned, remain the same, and very fine.

    Your post makes me want to see Ma 6-T va Crack-er once again. I remember having mixed feelings about it but not much else (it’s been years since I’ve seen it). I liked Richet’s “Assault” remake very much but found his recent two-part Mesrine greatly wanting. How he won a Cesar for Best Director over Seraphine’s Provost strikes me a pretty bizarre — unless commercial appeal was all that counted.

  2. Thanks Jim. I wanted to open up the blog again and make it feel more accessible, not closed within the black and white of the previous incarnation, and nOt every pic will be that large, but I felt it was appropriate considering the film. I haven’t seen Richet’s two-part gangster film you mentioned, but it seems right up my alley. As for his Assault remake, I remember enjoying the visual scheme (Richet has a great talent for camera movement) but found the story lacking any purpose. Remaking Carpenter who was remaking Hawks is never a good idea.

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