The main characters of the French acute social drama with operatic and tragic pathos were brothers, between whom a serious conflict arose that divided them. The film is set in Athens, a Parisian suburb, where a thirteen-year-old Arab boy tragically died, leading to riots. During a public riot, his brothers are looking for the people who killed their young relative. Between them there are ideological conflicts, and the decisions of the main characters of the film will have disastrous consequences.
What is Athena about?
In the Parisian suburb of Athena, a Muslim boy, Idir, was killed, after which the local Arab community rebelled. Tensions began to rise. It came to real violence.
This is a story about four brothers with different destinies:
- drug dealer Moktar;
- special forces officer Abdele, who has army awards;
- young rebel Karim, who led demonstrators who accused law enforcement officers of killing a Muslim boy;
- the dead thirteen-year-old Idira.
Karim’s group took over the suburbs. With weapons stolen from the police station, the protesters put forward a demand for the extradition of the gendarmes who killed the boy to them.
According to Abdel, violence will not lead to anything good. The commando offers a diplomatic way to resolve the conflict that has arisen. He asks the police to honestly investigate the death of the child, but among the suspects are the law enforcement officers themselves, which is why the locals do not believe in justice.
Karim needed the help of his older brother, drug dealer Moktar, who does not want to support either side of the conflict. He is only interested in his own illegal business.
Under the leadership of Abdel, they began to evacuate people who could not safely leave the local city hall. The mother of the brothers does not know where Karim is. She turns to Abdel with a request for the protection of her youngest son.
TV news comes out about the beating of a Muslim boy by the police, which led to his death. It turned out that not real police officers attacked the child, as stated in the results of the investigation. The perpetrators are part of a small far-right group operating in Athens.
The rebels, led by Karim, managed to take a gendarme hostage, whose name is Jerome. The rebels offer the police to give them the boy’s killers in exchange for this cop. Karim received an offer from Abdel to negotiate, but the police do not like this idea. The gendarmes threatened Abdel with arrest.
The commando came to Athens for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, but a quarrel arose between him and Karim. Abdel managed to free Jerome from captivity. Now law enforcement officers and rebels have declared a hunt for him. The commando needs the help of Moktar, who hid Abdel and said that he was his half-brother.
The police received a message from a fugitive commando that Jerome was with him. This became known to Karim. A deadly fight begins between the gendarmes and the Protestants. Now it seems to Abdel that he must support Karim to restore justice.
The meaning of the film “Athena”
The riot in the Parisian suburbs was due to racism and police violence. In the film directed by Romain Gavras, Athena is inhabited by:
- peaceful older migrants not involved in street clashes;
- reasonable middle-aged men;
- young people who are ready to solve the problems that have arisen with the help of the Molotov cocktail.
The rebels want to take revenge on the police, immediately execute the killers, and not investigate and legally punish them. The search for those responsible for the death of the boy and evidence of their crime is an empty exercise for protesters who are not interested in the real reasons for the murder of a young Muslim. They do not want to understand why they got into such a life situation.
Young people do not believe in the possibility of justice and justify their own violence, calling to kill their enemies, as they do to them. The brutality of young Arabs is a response to police violence. It turns out that there is no difference between them.
Young people came to the barricades who want to take revenge on the killers of the boy, but do not know how to do it. Sometimes rebels do mindless things, using funny forms of protest, such as stripping.
The film by Romain Gavras tells about the metaphorical “Bastille” – the criminal district of Paris, where migrants live. The director claims that the integration of foreigners in France has failed.
Explanation of the ending of the movie “Athena”
Karim and his comrades want Jerome to be their hostage. Abdel cannot hand over the gendarme to the police, as his brother prevents him from doing so. The rebels brutally attack law enforcement officers, throwing Molotov cocktails at them. The police refuse to comply with their demands. The cops are going to get the hostage back.
Karim holding the bomb was shot dead by the police. The Molotov cocktail exploded, resulting in the death of Abdel’s brother, who realized that he had to go over to the right side. He considers the act of the police immoral and decides to uphold justice to the end. The commando joined the Protestants and became their new leader. He no longer trusts the police.
Law enforcement officers heard Abdel’s demand to extradite the killer of his younger brother, after which he promised to release the hostage. While negotiating, the commando learned that in fact Idir was killed by an ultra-right group, and not by the police. But he does not believe this and warns that Jerome will be killed if his demands are ignored.
In the head of the rebel Sebastian, a plan was born to blow up the building in which the protesters and the hostage are located.
After the arrival of the police, it became clear to Abdel that the gendarmes would not comply with his demands. He let go of Jerome and stayed in the house, which ended up blowing up.
In the course of the development of the plot of the film, only Abdel has doubts about the need for protests, but after the murder of his second brother, he goes over to the side of the rebels. The man believes that justice must prevail. But after the failure of the plan, he is ready to die for his brothers. Thus, the family conflict ended in tragedy. Abdel is dead. Law enforcement agencies were unable to honestly investigate the death of his brother, so the special forces soldier was embroiled in a conflict that had socio-political overtones.
By the end of the drama, the audience realizes that Idir died because of hatred, which was caused by unresolved problems in French society. His death was the trigger for violence that spread to the streets of the Parisian suburbs. The far-right group, which caused many problems for migrants, can be called the culprit of these events.
The film also shows the state of the French police, and reflects conflicts involving law enforcement agencies and ordinary citizens. All these themes come together at the end of the drama.
Overwhelming people’s emotions become the cause of their destructive behavior. The protesting citizens never achieved any acceptable result of the riot. Violence on the streets has led to the troubles and suffering of ordinary residents of the Parisian suburbs, on the example of which all modern world socio-political conflicts are shown.