The film revolves around the arrival of an African family in the "Les Côteaux" housing project in the suburbs of Mulhouse in Alsace. A couple of pensioners live there; they can't afford to live anywhere else and have a low level of tolerance for other forms of civilization. The wife is ill and can't bear noise. After witnessing a theft by young Arabs, the hold man thinks that it is his duty to call the police. He is rejected by the African family who refuses to acknowledge the crime. The proud and upstanding attitude of the Africans arouses the admiration of all the project's inhabitants and, more particularly, that of the Arab family. These events hasten the African family's integration into the neighbour-hood and provoke the inspector's anger...
"Paul Vecchiali needs no introduction. Working with him is an honour for a producer. "Zone franche" has the authenticity of the real world of so-called dangerous suburbs. The originality of Patrick Raynal and Paul Vecchiali's approach lies in the fact that it as close as possible to its source. They worked hand-in-hand with these outcasts of society to achieve the natural reconstitution of their everyday acts and gestures. And, in this way, I think the outcasts felt more at home. Beyond the artistic dimension, the human stakes of dozens of people involved in the film is fabulous. This dual challenge is unusual in the cinema: pushing aside false appearances and tackling a new form of tolerance in which everyone conserves his personal needs."
(Jacques Le Glou - Producer)