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  • Lascars
  • 96 min  -  Animation
  • Original title: Lascars
  • Director:Emmanuel Klotz and Albert Pereira-Lazaro
  • Language: French
  • Country: France

Lascars is an animated movie following the adventures of a cast of low-income suburban characters and their desperate attempts to get away from heat-wave Paris.

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REVIEW BY Sarah de Latte Movie EXPERT
Review posted: 26/12/2013

Lascars is an animated movie from 2009, following the adventures of a cast of low-income “ banlieue ” (suburban) characters and their desperate attempts to get away from heat-wave Paris. The term “ lascar ” refers to someone who is streetwise and a hooligan. It is synonymous with another popular French term, “ racaille. ” The accent used by the main characters, Merguez and José, is typical “ lascar ” speech: words are slurred together, made up, or fused with those from other languages, especially English. This contrasts greatly with the “proper” French spoken by another character, Judge Santiépi, who uses words like “ demeurre ” (the proper way of saying “home”) and “ des tierces personnes ” (third parties), underscoring the fact that he is a judge. Alternatively, when he meets the judge for the first time, during a job interview, José switches to proper French, in order to conform and have a higher chance of looking good in the eyes of his future employer.

"The adventures of a cast of low-income 'banlieue' (suburban) characters and their desperate attempts to get away from heat-wave Paris"

Some of the slang in Lascars is dubbed “caillera” in French. It used to be mainly employed by lascars and racailles , but these days, it has entered the mainstream jargon. The premise of caillera slang is that the first syllables of words become the final syllables. So, therefore, “caillera,” when switched back to its original form, is “racaille.” An example of this kind of language is found at the beginning of the movie, when José speaks to his cousin about how he’s going to work on his “bumal” all summer. Of course, this refers to the music “album” he wants to record.

Other words have their roots in early 20 th century immigrant slang. Merguez gets himself wrapped up in drug problems, delegating some sales to Casimir. When Casimir has his money stolen by Momo, he shouts “Ma thûne!” (“Thûne” is slang for “money”). Elsewhere, when Zoran meets Merguez, he asks, “C’est ton blaze encore.” The word “blaze,” in this case, means “name,” and it has been recently reintroduced into French street language. Another characteristic of “banlieue” language is its fusing of English and French. When José loses his shoe in the metro, he shouts, “Mes shoes!” And when he’s working at the judge’s house, he calls himself, “Le big boss.

Some other interesting expressions are quite common amongst all French people. When Sammy and Narbé head out in a taxi to the airport, they shout, “Gardez la pêche les gars,” which means “Keep up your spirits,” and could be derived from the concept of keeping a peachy color to stay healthy. Later, when José wants to take Clémence on a date, he asks her if she wants to go for “un petit resto,” literally “a little restaurant,” but here a slang phrase for “a casual meal” together. Another slang phrase is “Ca a de la gueule, une fois montée,” which José says to Merguez after they have successfully built a Norwegian sauna. It translates as, “It looks classy once it’s made,” similar to the English expression, “It’s gutsy.”