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Immigration, police brutality, pesticides, and pollinators -- topical issues on screen

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Ladj Ly’s " Les Misérables " is not another adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel-turned-musical you know (and maybe love) showing at Gray Duck Theater & Coffeehouse.

Ly, in the director’s seat for his first full-length film, set the film in his home town of Montfermeil, the Paris suburb that inspired some of Hugo’s novel. It gets down into the dirt and grime of its lower-class citizens.

But that’s where the similarities end.

"Les Misérables," nominated for "Best Foreign Language Film" in this year’s Academy Awards, is a story about a street crime unit’s daily patrol, dealing with issues of police brutality, immigration, community division, and the way technology can both help and hinder the pursuit of justice. After a bizarre crime, three members of the police -- some less corrupt and heavy-handed than others -- work toward a form of justice. As the crime unit tangles with various factions in Montfermeil, tensions rise and a race riot looms.

Continue exploring current issues with Gray Duck’s other featured film this weekend, " The Pollinators ." The Peter Nelson documentary follows members of America’s migratory bee industry, which, according to the film, is responsible for about one-third of the food grown in the U.S. However, with honey bee populations in decline, the portrait this film paints is one of a food industry threatened by climate change, pesticides, parasites, and habitat loss. Meet the beekeepers, farmers, and minds working on a solution -- hopefully before America’s agricultural industry knuckles under.

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                                   Friday       Saturday       Sunday

Les Misérables           5 p.m.      7 p.m.         4:30 p.m.

The Pollinators         7:15 p.m.  4:30 p.m.    1:30, 7 p.m.

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Related Topics: POLICE
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