In French & English, English subtitles
For audiences aged 12 and above
'A quirky and endearing urban dramedy set within a run-down French apartment house, Macadam Stories (Asphalte) marks a strong fifth feature from the otherwise inconsistent writer-director-actor Samuel Benchetrit (I Always Wanted to Be a Gangster). Like a lighthearted Short Cuts transplanted to the grim Paris banlieue, this series of cleverly conceived vignettes is both amusing and tender, focusing on several downtrodden characters scraping by in a forgotten industrial wasteland. Strong art house casting - including Isabelle Huppert and Michael Pitt - should help the well-crafted effort find international takers after a premiere in Cannes.
Among the building's diverse tenants are the terminally depressed Sternkowitz (Belgian comic-filmmaker Gustave Kervern), who in the opening scenes finds himself partially handicapped after what can best be described as an "exercise bike overdose." Upstairs from him lives Charly (Jules Benchetrit), a teenage boy with permanently absent parents who befriends his new next door neighbor, the actress Jeanne Meyer (Huppert - basically playing herself). And finally there's Madame Hamida (Tassadit Mandi), an Algerian immigrant whose son is in prison, and who finds her humdrum home life upended when an American astronaut (Pitt) suddenly knocks at her door.'
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
Director: Samuel Benchetrit
Screenplay: Samuel Benchetrit & Gabor Rassov based on the first part of Benchetrit's autobiographical novel Les Chroniques de l'Asphalte
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Gustave Kevern, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Tassadit Mandi, Jules Benchetrit, Michael Pitt, Mickaël Graehling
Production: Ivan Taïeb, Marie Savare & Julien Madon / Maje Productions, Single Man Productions, La Caméra Deluxe
Print: The Festival Agency