“Paris, 13th District” starts with cool black-and-white drone shots of a concrete estate in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, and it comes from the hand of Palme d’Or winning director Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet,” “Dheepan”). So one could be forgiven for anticipating a tough, urban movie in the ground-breaking mold of Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 drama “La Haine.”
However, the opening montage of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” is closer in spirit to this latest entrant in the Cannes competition, which premiered on Wednesday night. The unrest and turbulence in “Paris, 13th District” (titled “Les Olympiades,” after the name of the estate block, in French) is all of the heart.
Audiard’s film is a network of interconnected stories about various young, multi-cultural Parisians living in the tower blocks, based on three stories by American illustrator Adrian Tomine, taken from his 2015 collection “Killing and Dying” and transposed to this Parisian quartier.
We follow Emilie, played in a memorable debut by Lucie Zhang, who is third generation Chinese; the character works in a call center and lives in the apartment of her ailing grandmother, who is now in a nursing home.