A housing project. Stairwells, basements, parking-lots, and concrete. Torn between North African and French tradition, Mezz, Aziz, Laurent, Nordine, Poisson and all the other kids have created their own culture blending Rap and Raï, their own language and a vivid, incisive sense of humour. In this world of concrete, fights, dope and deals, hope rears its head from time to time. Djamel has hope. He wants to get out of this pit. He has a job and doesn't want any hassle. But his drug-addict brother stops him breaking away. Djamel loves Sahlia and respects her. Sahlia loves Djamel too but she wants to live like a French girl her age, without her brother keeping a constant eye on her virginity, without mothers arranging marriages for her and without the burden of life in the projects. The film uses Raï music and the northern suburbs of Paris to present a gallery of characters struggling with their hopes, problems and conflicts.
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At twenty-one, Tabatha Cash claims to have twenty-one years of experience. The former porn star now works for television, radio and "mainstream" cinema. Thomas Gilou offered her a part set in a world that she knows well :
"... The fact I was born in the suburbs, twenty-one years ago, and spent seventeen years in a housing project gave me the best possible start in life. I owe the suburbs everything. I had fun there, a wild time even if there were harder, more depressing times. Within a housing project, people bond in a way that you don't find between guys and girls anywhere else. "Raï" shows the friendship, love and humour as they truly are (...)"
(Tabatha Cash - From an interview with Alain Grasset - Le Parisien)