After Les Misérables, Ladj Ly unveils the powerful trailer for Bâtiment 5

Ladj Ly – Building 5: “It was important to have a strong opening sequence”

The “sequel” to Les Miserable arrives this week on VOD, DVD and blu-ray.

Haby, a young woman very involved in the life of her town, discovers the new redevelopment plan for the neighborhood in which she grew up. Led on the sly by Pierre Forges, a young pediatrician who has become mayor, he plans the demolition of the building where Haby grew up. With her family, she launches into a standoff against the municipality and its great ambitions to prevent the destruction of building 5.

Building 5 is the second film in the trilogy planned by Ladj Ly on the suburbs. After Wretchedbig success of the year 2019, which recounted a violent news item, this “following” takes place around 2005, and deals in particular with the “bad housing”. Met at the Sarlat festival, at the end of 2023, the director gave an interview to Firstand deciphered two scenes from Building 5 in particular: its opening “strong”, which immediately sets the tone of the film, and its evacuation sequence, central to the plot and spectacular in its staging. We are sharing his words again on the occasion of the arrival of this drama on VOD, DVD and blu-ray, this Wednesday, April 17. Note that within the bonuses, there is a making-of focusing in particular on the exceptional filming conditions within the building about to be demolished.

Two particularly striking sound scenes in Building 5 : its opening and that of the evacuation. How did you design them?

LL: It was important to have a strong opening sequence, which says a lot about what these neighborhood residents can experience. There is this character who says: 'It's difficult to live and die in these conditions.' It's a terrible sentence, which says so much about the situation of the people who live there. We took the time to make it last so that the spectators understand the whole grieving process, but also what it feels like to lower a coffin several floors, down narrow stairs. This immediately represents all the difficulties that happen in these places. Nabil will tell you better than me, since he plays one of the coffin bearers.

Nabil Akrouti: Yes, we filmed in a particularly cramped location and the camera shows it very well. The difficulty for me was quite simply that we were carrying a real coffin. And we did the take five or six times. We felt its weight, and it was important because Ladj wanted to stick to reality so much, he wanted to put us in real conditions for it to work. And the emotion is there. Already because for us as human beings, carrying a coffin is very powerful. I find the scene more than realistic. The result, for me, is magnificent.

LL: The other sequence, already in the script, was our climax. Having experienced this kind of evacuation, unfortunately, these are things that happen really often. The question came up a lot during the promo: 'Did it really exist? Does it happen that people are excluded like that overnight, in a matter of hours?' Yes, indeed, it happened in Clichy, then it happened in many other cities.

This specific subject interested me to deal with. We took the time to do it well. It's a sequence that lasts almost fifteen minutes in the film. It wasn't easy to shoot even though we had this tower at our disposal, because there were more than 200 extras, large technical teams, three cameras shooting at the same time and especially these very stairwells. , very narrow. With so many people, it’s a real challenge! Besides, we had already experienced something close on Wretched with this final scene which also lasts fifteen minutes in this stairwell. But this one is a sequence that I really appreciate, I hope we'll talk about it.

Wretched, we did it with pieces of string, we had very little money, very few means, so it took a lot of energy. People got involved, played the game and went with their hearts. Thanks to its success, obviously, we had an easier time. Notably more technical means, so we tried to elevate the staging. You can see that it is quite different on Building 5 where we generally shot with three cameras. We had a huge crane, it was really fun to operate. Especially since we had this disused building all to ourselves: ten floors, 150 apartments where we could shoot whatever we wanted. For three weeks. That's why we shot this big evacuation sequence. We were still quite comfortable!

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