Alimentation Générale (The General Store)

Alimentation Générale (The General Store)

  • France
  • 84
  • STC

Chantal Briet’s elegant verité-style doc is set in Ali’s small grocery story in an immigrant-heavy Parisian suburb. The apartment blocks that overshadow the store were heralded as the cities of the future by the government of the day, but now lie crumbling. Ali’s is the final shop that remains, and one of the last places for the neighbourhood’s working poor to gather, gossip and bicker. Ali’s gentle nature has helped rejuvenate a sense of community within the harsh surroundings, as the store becomes both a safe haven and the centre of efforts to persuade the government to introduce improvements. Set in Epinay-sur-Seine, later the scene of rioting and urban violence in the fall of 2005, the film is a tale of life on the margins of French society. By capturing the minds and faces of the neighbours, Briet gives them a voice and reminds us of the importance of community. Chris McDonald

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