Youri, 16, has lived all his life in Cité Gagarine, a vast red brick housing project on the outskirts of Paris. From the heights of his apartment, he dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when plans to demolish his community’s home are leaked, Youri joins the resistance. With his friends Diana and Houssam, he embarks on a mission to save Gagarine, transforming the estate into his own "starship" – before it disappears into space forever. The film was shot on the cusp of the actual demolition of the Cité Gagarine housing project in collaboration with its residents in Ivry-sur-Seine.

Director's Statement

GAGARINE tells the story of Yuri: a character caught between two stages of life, a dreamer dealing with the disappearance of his low-rent building, as if it were a rite of passage he is not quite ready for. The idea for this feature first came to us when we discovered the Gagarine building in Ivry-sur-Seine in October 2014. Launched by Yuri Gagarin himself in 1963, this place used to embody the utopia of a collective living. The story of this building, its symbolic as well as architectural form, immediately stroke us. The stories of the inhabitants we met there, confirmed how unique the building was. Once a utopia, it was now a ghetto deemed to be torn down. This project first took the form of a short film, GAGARINE, in 2015. The film traveled through international festivals and received the Sundance Channel Award. But we wanted to go further in exploring the inhabitants' lives. We look at Yuri's building through his imagination. For Yuri, his beloved housing project is a vast spaceship he repairs. This fantastic vision is a way for us to approach the question of how inner cities are represented, Magical realism is a way to empower and change one’s perspective. By transforming the building into a "luminous ship", he pays tribute to it, while also showing he is capable of freeing himself from it. It is also a way for us to fight clichés about inhabitants in social housing buildings, often categorised as territories where people have neither the resources nor the capacity to dream nor decide on their own future. Our main character has many weaknesses and fears, but he has the strength of his vision, a vision he built within his building, thanks to the community around him, thanks to the richness of this specific context, and that is the reason why it is so difficult for him to accept the end of it. We want to show how rich this diversity is.

Director's Biography

Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh write and direct together. Their four short films, all rooted in a poetic urban and social reality, have won awards at many international festivals (Palm Springs, Clermont Ferrand, Sundance et. al.). GAGARINE is their first feature-length film.

2018 BLUE DOG, short
2018 SARAH, COME BACK, short
2015 GAGARINE, short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh

Written by: Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh, Benjamin Charbit

Produced by: Julie Billy, Carole Scotta

Cinematography: Victor Seguin

Editing: Daniel Darmon, Sophie Reine

Production Design: Marion Burger

Costume Design: Ariane Daurat, Virginie Montel

Make-Up & Hair: Pascale Guégan

Original Score: Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine, Amine Bouhafa

Sound: Dana Farzanehpour, Maxime Roy, Margot Testemale, Mélissa Petitjean

Visual Effects: Sébastien Rame

Cast: Alséni Bathily (Youri), Lyna Khoudri (Diana), Jamil McCraven (Houssam), Finnegan Oldfield (Dali), Farida Rahouadj (Fari), Denis Lavant (Gérard)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery - Prix Fipresci 2020