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A French Youth

Photographer: Hervé Lequeux
Journalist: Sébastien Deslandes

A 3 years documentary granted by french ministry of culture (Help to documentary creation).

“A French youth”

Is a photo and text documentary which highlights youth social conditions in the French suburbs. We have chosen to display some unknown faces and give them a platform to put their daily life, aspirations and constraints into perspective.
We want to show a reality of France which will constitute an important piece of the history of France. Here, takes place a part of its future. There are 15 to 25 year olds who were born in France, but their ethnic origins are from north and sub-Saharan Africa.
These, mostly young French Muslims toil for many to abandon the initial social situation of their parents and to reach an upper status in French society. The issues are known and problems regularly expressed. 15-25 years old clash to the same difficulties whatever the suburb. They face many problems : premature removal from school, academic failure, decomposed families, violence and involvement in the illegal drug trade, unemployment and geographical fracture. What solutions are offered to them? We want to analyze the daily life of several young people from different suburbs, and look for the common issues that are restraining.
We were interested at first in the districts of the Parisian suburb, mainly Seine-Saint -Denis, in Villetaneuse and Épinay-sur-Seine. We want to broadcast the work of associations who train young, disadvantaged people for employment in a professional activity. Also advancing the nature of the links which unite them, with their relatives' culture and with their religion. We wanted finally to put all the talents and the cleverness which exist in these districts into perspective.
Thanks to ministry of french culture grant pursuing our Tour de France, we’ve moved towards the north districts of Marseille. The city has been the subject of media spotlight due to a series of murders linked to drug cartels and weapons trafficking in the city. The underreporting of such violence in the north district is impossible. But we’ve chosen to describe the daily life of these youth face, the routine violence and segregation.

Our last stage leads us in Saint-Étienne. We wish to highlight the existence of the French Muslim youth in a medium-sized town by getting ride of the stereotypical major cities usual picture.