“Les Bosquet” – French street artist, JR, turns the projects into a ballet stage in remembrance of the riots in 2005.

April 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

French street artist, JR, is well known for plastering large posters of everyday people’s portraits on outdoor spaces in favelas, the Gaza Strip, and cities all over the world. In 2014, he collaborated with the NYC Ballet on a ballet called Les Bosquets. Les Bosquets was inspired by JR’s first art project, ‘Portrait of a Generation’ and by the riots that took place in France in 2005, when two teens in Clichy-sous-Bois (a predominantly African American Parisian suburb), were electrocuted when they hid in a power station, because they were being chased by the police.

During the Tribeca Film Festival 2015, JR premiered his 18 minute short film by the same name, The Story of Ladj Ly, ‘Les Bosquets,’ which took over 10 years to make, and turns the parking lot of a project housing complex in the Paris suburb, Clichy Montfermeil, into a ballet stage.

J.ane R.osenthal introduced the film “Les Bosquets” stating that artists tell the truth and can bring something out in us.

When JR took the microphone away from Jane, the artist joked that “it’s a hard act to follow the real JR, Jane Rosenthal.”

The short starts off with a man holding up a videocamera like it is a weapon stating that he has a hard time filming people close to him.


A wall portrait of an eyeball is shown and then once again when a group of ballerinas come together to stand in a line next to one another and their full length polka dotted leotards form the eyes of the main lead principle ballerina.


The two photographers trigger a riot, scores of men begin running away in the rain and thunderstorms, and a beautiful principal ballerina, dressed in a white tutu, appears in the doorway.



They all transition into ballerinas and begin performing on a black paved parking lot. Their shadows are being displayed against the walls of the housing projects, and a helicopter shines their light down on them much like a stage light from a balcony at NYC Ballet would.



Music composed by Pharrell Williams, Hans Zimmer and Wookid.

After the short, JR-street artist, Pharrell Williams (via Skype), Lil Buck-dancer-hip-hop footwork, Lauren Lovette-soloist at NYCB, Hans Zimmer-German film composer, discussed how they all came to collaborate on the project with one another. Very clever. JR, once again, joked that the talk was longer than the short film. Look for his work on the cover of this weeks New York Times Magazine.


Article by Sharon Abella
One World Cinema

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