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Smaïn is a young French man who lives in the Pablo Picasso Housing Project located in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.  His family came from Morocco in the 1970's. He had 11 brothers and sisters.


He was a drug dealer for over 10 years, but after spending a few months in jail he decided to give up ‘the life’. A self-taught computer whiz, Smaïn found a job as a service technician helping people solve their software problems over the telephone.  He works in one of the huge office towers of the La Défense business center, which happens to be located a short distance away from the Pablo Picasso Project.


During the day he is a white-collar professional, wearing a suit and a tie.  

At night, after coming home on his brand new scooter, he changes into blue jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. This is when Smaïn returns to the streets to buy his daily dose of hashish. He gets high, eats a solitary dinner and then plays video games until he passes out.


On what was to be a symbolic Bastille Day celebration, Smaïn agreed to a series of interviews over a period of one year with documentary filmmaker Anna Pitoun.  He recounts his childhood, his use of drugs as a teenager and his sense of emptiness when his father lost his job and became permanently unemployed.   He also describes how several of his brothers died of AIDS and drug addiction. He talks about his own “revolution,”  and his determination to change his life. He also shares his feelings about a Muslim religion that seems unrelated to the serene Islamic principles his parents taught him.  He gently explains how he attempts to get away from near-desperate loneliness to live a normal life.


As he speaks, the seasonal changes reflected in the mirrored windows of La Defense’s high towers parallel his own growing self-awareness. Smaïn wonders if one day he will be able to find his place in French society.



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