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Gagarine
Institute of Contemporary Arts
June 2022
Gagarine, dirs. Fanny Liatard & Jérémy Trouilh, France 2020, 98 min., French with English subtitles


The Cité Gagarine housing estate represented the hopes and dreams of a brighter future when it was built in suburban Paris in the early 1960s. Fast forward nearly 60 years, and this landmark development – by then home to dozens of immigrant families – has been earmarked for demolition. But teenager Youri (Alseni Bathily) has lived his whole life here, even being named after the Russian cosmonaut, and resolves to do all he can to keep both the building and its community alive.  
  
Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh’s debut feature is a beguiling tribute to the power of community, the persistence of memory, and the ingenuity and indefatigability of youth. A breakout hit at Cannes and a multiple award-winner and nominee at a host of other recent film festivals, Gagarine blends gritty realism with magical fantasy as it shoots for the moon – and lands among the stars.
 
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