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Polisse is a documentary style drama set in the Child Protection Unit (CPU) of the Paris police department, surveying the lives of its members who resemble a self-contained, dysfunctional family unit. The film is written, directed by and stars French actress Maïwenn who plays Melissa, the shy photographer commissioned to document the CPU at work. At first she is the object of antagonism for the emotionally overzealous Fred – a sensitive performance by hip-hop artist Joeystarr – but theirs becomes a tender love story; an obvious plotline but delicately cultivated.

The camerawork is seamless between verite and classical compositions, and overall achieves a real intimacy. The end comes as a bit of a shock, but serves as a powerful punctuation mark to the incessant cycle of daily drama for the CPU. (RF) ***1/2