In good place in the top Netflix, Paradise Beach by Xavier Durringer was released in theaters in 2019. Its streaming is an opportunity to return to the story of Jean Miez, co-screenwriter of the film and former robber.
Not far from eight years after La Conquête, which traced Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power since 2002, Xavier Durringer directed Paradise Beach, a gangster film in the purest tradition of the genre. The screenplay follows a team of former robbers having happy days in Thailand, until the day when their former accomplice Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), who has just spent fifteen years in prison following their last robbery, arrives to recover his share of the cake…
On the occasion of the broadcast of this feature film on Netflix, close-up on its co-screenwriter Jean Miez, a real ex-criminal saved by his passion for writing, theater and cinema.
Like Edward Bunker or François Troukens, two ex-robbers and ex-prisoners who managed to break into the cinema through writing and/or staging, the co-screenwriter of Paradise Beach, Jean Miez, also has an experience worthy of a detective film character. Born in 1948 in Vincennes into a poor family (his father was a war wounded and his mother a worker), he experienced prison at the age of 17 following several car thefts.
Imprisoned in Fresnes (where he developed his “skills” in everything related to welding and locksmithing), he was released after a few months and gradually began to chain serious crimes, including robberies and burglaries.
Alternating stays behind bars and criminal activities, Jean Miez is not long in being stuck with organized crime. At 37, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison but did a total of five, saved by his passion for literature, which he grew in isolation. Also during his detention, he was noticed by an agent during a theater workshop at the Bois-d’Arcy remand center.
When he left, at the end of the 1980s, he met Xavier Durringer, a director with whom he wrote J’irai au paradis car l’enfer est ici in 1996. A decisive meeting which marked the beginning of a long collaboration, since the ex-gangster participated in the writing of Villains in 1999 (where he also plays the main character), then in that of Paradise Beach twenty years later.
Meanwhile, on the strength of his theatrical experience which he developed in prison, Jean Miez played in several films and TV films (often directed by Xavier Durringer), such as Chok-Dee, Lady Bar 2, Hiver Rouge or La Conquête. The actor is also present in the series Scalp, Les Beaux mecs and The Source (for which Durringer directs six episodes).
Ironically, his first film role was that of a police commissioner in Memoirs of a Young Con (1995), an autobiographical film about the criminal career of its director: Patrick Aurignac, ex-robber turned actor and filmmaker ( he committed suicide in 1997 with a bullet in the head due to several problems related to his addiction to drugs and the fact that his film did not meet with the expected success).
It was his meeting with Jean Miez that sparked Xavier Durringer’s interest in the theme of organized crime, present in several of his films. The director says:
“From his past as an ex-gangster and ex-con, Jean conveys stories and knowledge worthy of Shakespearean tragedies. The sequence where Winny (Kool Shen) orders his wife to put her hands on her head to punish her is an authentic anecdote told to me by Jean Miez. The film is riddled with this kind of sequences which shows the middle of organized crime as it is. Jean Miez explained to me the difference between these guys and us. We have a problem with someone, because he owes money, because he sleeps with your wife, at the worst of the worst, we break his teeth or his knees. Them, they stumble directly.“