Out There

Reviews and reports from SXSW Film and Interactive 05

Out There


D: Ziad Doueiri; with Vahina Giocante, Mohammed Khouas, Karim Ben Haddou, Lofti Chakri

Narrative Feature Spotlight

When Chimo (Khouas) meets Lila (Giocante) in his French-Arab slum, she's quick to show off her pubes, which are blond – such a commodity in the predominantly swarthy neighborhood that even her crazy aunt (Edmonde Franchi) likes to admire them – and the two escalate to what must be the first techno-music moped handjob montage in celluloid history. (Correct me if I'm mistaken.) She's the libertine – a consequence of her youthful oversexualization – and he's the sensitive guy among a gang of thugs, so she's desperate to provoke him. Doueiri's second feature bogs down somewhat in her attempts to do so; he deals with the film's issues (racism and the fragmentation of the family) more obliquely, through the prism of the relationship, and with a funky street-level style suggestive of the French New Wave. Though it's at times tonally discordant, the film's off-center approach works in the final analysis.

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