Documentary, 5K/DCP, black&white, 98 min, 1:2,35, Dolby SRD, Germany/France 2021. A German-French coproduction by Coccinelle Films and Idéale Audience with the support of CNC, FFA and Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
script & director DANIELA ABKE, cinematography ISABELLE CASEZ, sound engineer YOLANDE, DECARSIN, editor SEBASTIAN WINKELS / DANIELA ABKE, sound design ALEXANDER BUCK, sound mix GREGOR BONSE, color grading PETRA LISSON, producer DANIELA ABKE / PIERRE‑OLIVIER BARDET
with Joseph Pantaleo, Lucio Urtubia, Minelle Guy, Riton la Manivelle, Robert Bober, S.C. Turner
Synopsis: Paris, Belleville: a neighbourhood that epitomises migration, music and struggle. At the corner of Rue des Envierges echoes of the Paris Commune of 1871 resonate, as neighbours and strangers alike sing old French popular songs together at Le Vieux Belleville, one of the city's last remaining café musettes. An ensemble of truly emblematic characters pays tribute to the French revolutionary spirit - echoes of a bygone era perhaps, yet radically fresh.
Belleville belle et rebelle portrays six extraordinary residents of Belleville, the Parisian immigrant neighbourhood par excellence. The charming, idiosyncratic regulars of the VIEUX BELLEVILLE carry the film in a manner similar to a French film choral: Joseph, the café owner and chronicler; Minelle, a singer and accordion player with infectious energy; Robert Bober, once Truffaut's assistant director and now a writer, photographer and filmmaker; Riton la Manivelle, a chanson singer and barrel organ player; Steven, a Scottish mural painter; and Lucio Urtubia, a Basque bricklayer and anarchist wanted by Interpol for forgery, who now runs the cultural centre ESPACE LOUISE MICHEL.
LE VIEUX BELLEVILLE is an authentic throwback in time, outmoded and outdated. Deeply rooted in the French soul, its culture attracts curious people from all over the world – to sing songs by Fréhel, Piaf and Gainsbourg, to dance and to live the eternally modern idea of brotherhood. The chansons sung here are a distillation of life, an essence – they talk of revolutions, revolts, world wars, May 1968, love and passion. To the question, what makes a good chanson, Jeanne Moreau replied, "The energy. It's something immediate, a shock, where an idea meets a sentiment".
Belleville belle et rebelle, yet another gem from director Daniela Abke, tells of an unseen side of France – a hidden France beyond the "Yellow Vests", illuminating a deep solidarity within this society.
A film about civil courage, culture and political interference - belle et rebelle.