Given the grand scale of his public art — covering walls, buildings, and even whole favelas with large portraits of anonymous and downtrodden faces — it’s pretty clear the French artist JR doesn’t do anything in baby steps. So the trailer he released today for his short film Les Bosquets, which will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival (in fact he and Robert De Niro have reportedly been palling around), embodies the same soaring gravitas.
The film is a faithful recreation of his ballet of the same name, as performed by the New York City Ballet in 2014, itself a dramatization of the 2005 riots in Montfermeil, an impoverished suburb of Paris. The riots erupted in the same place and at the same time as JR’s first art project, Portrait of a Generation, in which he took portraits of the local youth and displayed the enlarged results on their residential projects, as well as the streets of Paris. As such, the short film is a kind of continuation of his humanitarian mission to shine a light on poverty and injustice.
Original music for the film was composed by Pharrell Williams (who’s also an executive producer) and Woodkid, among others. JR also pays homage to Ladj Ly, one of those residents who experienced the riots firsthand and documented what he saw in the controversial film 365 Days in Clichy-Montfermeil.
Les Bosquets will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, after which it will be screened in museums and galleries only.