Reviews and reports from SXSW Film and Interactive 05
D: Ziad Doueiri; with Vahina Giocante, Mohammed Khouas, Karim Ben Haddou, Lofti Chakri
Narrative Feature SpotlightWhen 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.