Audiences crave stories of racial harmony, that explains why French comic Omar Sy is now internationally famous. He left his name in The Intouchables (2011), the narrative of a weak, young, black guy who nurses a wealthy, white paraplegic back to life. This friendship across racial and class lines made it the most common French movie within this creation, in France and across the world, so much so that it was remade in Hollywood using Kevin Hart.
These stories are so successful not only as they are reassuring about racial connections and therefore about our shared humanity, but since they dismiss politics. The Intouchables’s narrative of a French aristocrat of early lineage befriending a immigrant from Senegal makes us ask, what is France all about? It is paragliding and driving fast cars.
However, this doing of daring deeds is itself ambiguous. Does the bad but virile black guy intend to reestablish a few manliness to the wealthy but crippled white guy? Do they share in a joyful rebellion against a cosmic pleasure –man’s natural weakness, mortality, and the limits set to our will? Or is it manliness really unimportant and instead humanity is somehow about finding joy together in life , free from society and its encumbrances?
Maybe these questions aren’t on the minds of viewers. Readers will draw their own queries and conclusions. Those who respect manliness can shoot this as a comic version of Invictus. Those of us who don’t can seem to the egalitarian aspect. Those who desire the aged France revivified can enjoy that dream; but those who want to put an end to it and have a fresh France instead can even grin on this story.
Theft and Justice
Netflix attempts to answer these questions in its successful action-packed fresh adaptation of this story of master thief Arsène Lupin, the fabulous, fearless gentleman-thief of the Belle Epoque. Arsène Lupin is currently Assane Diop, performed by Omar Sy, son of a Senegalese immigrant whose life will be destroyed by an evil, wealthy, white Frenchman. The expectation of racial and class stability is hurried at the start of the series, once the father is driven to jail and suicide by the wicked, ungrateful accusations of his employer. The only real question is how revolutionary the attack on the French regime will prove.
He died in jailand never to see his son again–a rather Romantic narrative, remembering Hugo and Dumas. This isn’t merely about low-class immigrants confronting injustice–it is also a warning that loyalty and belief from large principles are deadly. Perhaps we can not have noble heroes anymore.
The son therefore grows up divided against himself–a spontaneously joyous good hulk of a guy who is also tormented by poverty–both the Frenchman and manhood of this criminal underclass. He stands tall and proud–but humiliated by the memory of his father’s guilt, which can be officially established, though he himself cannot consider it. Perhaps a pious redeemer.
He’s his father’s son, so convinced that propriety in schooling and moral outlook is totally necessary–he aspires to be a gentleman. But he’s the kid of modern France. He contains a mixture of democratic enthusiasm for its flamboyant wealth and happiness of celebrities as well as the oligarchic thirst for energy seen from the very narrow constraint of high associations.
Here we see one of the series’s mistakes–that the exact gentlemanly dad gives his son, as a present to inspire his schooling, one of Maurice LeBlanc’s Lupin novels. This is part of what contributes Diop to live the life of thieving for which his father was falsely accused. Not only does it make no feeling that the morally serious old guy has to inspire such a life, but then Diop gives the novel to his son.
Diop would like to jolt the entire method of elite associations in his quest for private justice, but to achieve that he would have to learn how to honor the public and gain their confidence from public acts.The reveal insists further on this nonsense by adding a touch of desecration, that is of course the official faith at Netflix: We see the youthful Diop get a Bible in his Catholic schooling, only to substitute its core to hide his favourite Lupin adventures in the covers. Presumably, this indicates that he rejects France’s greatest religion and morality, and just made an outward display to deceive authorities. How’s that for the basis of moral heroism?
This lifelong suspicion, his feelings of remorse, and the anger at all denied him all encourage him to look for the facts –but also for revenge, which he begins by resisting the necklace his dad was accused of selling. In punishing people who injure him, he can regain self-respect.
The people wealthy enough to run the Louvre and also to bid for jewelry auctioned there hate the folks who tidy up the place so much that they render themselves vulnerable to undermine. Diop phases the thieving by harnessing the respectability of their respectable, which makes them blind. First, Diop partners with a trio of French criminals to disguise themselves as custodial staff and feign the auction. He uses the ignorance of their safety personnel, that the suits, to slip in. He then uses crap to disgust them so they let him go, and he escapes with the treasure since he’s treated as an untouchable. The wealthy depend upon the bad being fair, but hate them too much to test.
The theft may seem a work of accident–that the rush of occasions, the more urgency, the large stakes, the threat to life–but is in reality the only real evidence we make which Diop has thought deeply about France’s issues. He’s master of occasions since he understands the flaws of the wealthy and the bad alike, both of whom he tips into defeating themselves. This one beautiful moment also reveals the superiority of mind over violence. This violent robbery succeeds without much engineering –that the wealthy are too mundane to take a arms race–everything that is required is daring and calculation. That complacency is a working mechanism: to defend themselves, the wealthy would have to acknowledge that they fear that the bad, that their location in the societal hierarchy is in danger.
Here we view the vision of Diop and its limits. He cannot really trust the bad since they are as wicked and greedy as the wealthy and unwilling to obey the telephone nobility or justice. His henchmen cannot be modern-day Robin Hoods since they have no self-respect–they are smug, but they don’t realize Diop’s natural greatness, indeed they violate him in the same manner as the authorities do.
The criminals he recruits into his strategy are only as exploitative as the wealthy, and use violence against the weak. This is a typical (perhaps too Marxist) complaint of oligarchy, and it has some merit. But it leaves unexplained why there’s such a thing as society under such conditions.
Lupin proceeds to a set of conflicts between Diop and his arch-nemesis, the guy who ruined his father, who uses the police, the media, and hired killers to perform his bidding. Diop partners with a journalist seeking to disclose the truth, to awaken France to the exact unnatural exploitation, but fails feebly. Here, the series turns from actions set pieces and enjoyable capers to a gloomy, violent thriller.
Lupin hence follows a superb but amoral coup with an extremely moralistic but bemused, even silly, crusade. This implies a very limited notion of politics. Diop might demonstrate how offense corrupts and blinds that the conclusion of even the proverbial”good thief.” To deceive others would be to hate them to be so easily tricked.
Diop begins thinking you could lie to everyone with no consequence, but that all will hear when the time arrives to yell the reality. How do a master of disguise not suspect that his arch-nemesis might also be practiced at the art of deception? He’s blinded by his own self-righteousness and simple-minded anger. However, how can he be such a stranger to the France he has lived ? There we see that the price paid because of his rejection of its political promises!
Diop would like to jolt the entire method of elite associations in his quest for private justice, but to achieve that he would have to learn how to honor the public and gain their trust by public actions. This could make him an honest guy and a champion of humor. The first half of his adventure, currently available on Netflix, reveals his ancestral collapse to do so. The second half of this adventure, to be released later this season, might have to show us whether he achieves his radical fantasies, and if they are as admirable as his quest for justice indicates.