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Friday, 23 September 2016

Friday’s French music break - Cyril Mokaïesh & Bernard Lavilliers, “La loi du marché”

There’s no doubt about it. This week’s choice for Friday’s French music break is a heartfelt piece of social and political commentary (and that’s not hyperbolising) with a haunting melody and powerful lyrics that would leave only the most insensitive, indifferent.

Inspired by Stéphane Brizé’s award-winning 2015 drama “La Loi du marché” (“The Measure of a Man”) for which Vincent Lindon (deservedly) won Best Actor at last year’s Cannes film festival and a César (the French equivalent of the Oscar) in 2016, Cyril Mokaïesh’s song of the same name sees him pair up with another politically engaged artist, albeit from another generation, Bernard Lavilliers.

And the combination of Mokaïesh (31) and Lavilliers (69) is a stroke of genius.

As is the clip which accompanies the song, directed by none other than Brizé, the man who made the film.

Cyril Mokaïesh (screenshot from official video of “La loi du marché”)

Bernard Lavilliers (screenshot from official video of “La loi du marché”)

“ ‘La Loi du marché’ (the film) marks a moment in our history,” Mokaïesh said in an interview with Le Huffington Post.

“It’s about the difficulty of contemporary existence , the fierce world of work and its injustices.”

So moved was he by the “poetic nature” of the film that Mokaïesh wanted to “make his own contribution”, and in particular express the,“difficult lived of migrants and the way in which society had become dysfunctional” without neglecting structural and social issues in France of course.

You see, a world and-a-half removed from what many other artists have to offer.

“There is no song that can change the course of events,” he said.  “But there is a chance that it (a song) can reveal feelings and unite forces.”

The (overwhelmingly positive) reaction to the song on Mokaïesh’s Facebook page might well be from those who have already been converted to his music and his message. But there’s a strength in both the lyrics and performance that’s undeniable. And Brize’s video clip complements it perfectly.

Maybe there is hope that Mokaïesh’s sentiments, as idealistic as they most definitely are, might be heard by some who are not necessarily natural listeners of his music.

Anyway, here’s a triple recommendation for you.

Firstly, if you haven’t already, try to see Brizé’s film (the first clip below is the trailer): it’s touching and troubling and, needless to say, Lindon is just magnificent.

Secondly, take a listen to (and a look at) Mokaïesh and Lavilliers’ joint “contribution” (the second clip below).

And finally, read the lyrics (in French). “Real” poetry.

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