In a poor neighborhood of Marseille, 16-year-old Clim falls in love with François, an adopted black youth aged 18 but known as Bébé. Accused of rape, Bébé is sent to jail. The pregnant Clim recounts their story to the unborn child in her womb. Both families mount a campaign to rebut the false charges of rape while Bébé and Clim wait it out, sacrificing their youth and their innocence to this ordeal, but reaching out to all those people who still have a heart where their heart belongs.
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Where people used to have a heart, what do they have these days? The answer’s in doubt, and let me just say I find that worrying. It’s no longer the specter of Communism that’s haunting Europe and the world, it’s the specter of ethnic war. A specter that raises its head whenever tough times arrive. Which makes the ‘New York–Marseille–Sarajevo’ equation instructive. Different countries, different periods, different religions, different societies—same tough times. The twentieth-century can claim to have invented the very concept of genocide. So as this century with its non-stop horrors comes to a close, the parable behind the film is simple: it supposes that ‘heart’ is the last rampart, the only rampart, or maybe just the current rampart against all the disasters that continue to befall us with alarming regularity. The film tries to get down to primal, archaic things, to use a glance, a smile, a tear, or a few words or gestures to show that no theory can completely explain this world. It seeks to reveal the characters in all their beauty, grandeur and essence—in short, all their sacredness. It’s about the times and places when life encompasses humanity in its entirety and—above all—its eternity. (Robert Guédiguian)