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In a poor Arab neighborhood, the nineteen years old Chimo lives alone with his mother and is a talented natural writer. His school teacher offers him the chance to study in Paris, inclusive with a letter of recommendation, but his mother can not afford and Chimo stays. His three best friends are completely losers and scoundrels. When the shy Chimo meets the gorgeous and sexy new-arrival in the ghetto Lila, who lives with a deranged aunt, his gross friend Mouloud falls for her. However, Chimo becomes close to Lila, who seduces him with her sexual games, telling him about her perverted sexual experience. The inexperienced Chimo falls in love for her, but he does not know how to declare his love for the girl. When Mouloud sneaks and listens to a private conversation between Lila and Chimo, he concludes that the girl is a whore, with tragic consequences. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I found this film very enjoyable. I believe the setting is actually Marseilles... not a Paris suburb as was mentioned in another review, However, a "poorer neighborhood" of "anywhere, big-city France" would describe it. I think this film can even provide a bit of insight into the underlying causes of the riots in France in Fall 2005.
Lila is an orphan, lives with her aunt/foster mother. She is beautiful and says many shocking things, even in the first two or three minutes of the film. (I would probably not let children watch this movie due to language, more than any other type of content.) Lila is a character who the viewer does not fully understand until the end of the film, which I will not spoil here. I was called back to my own adolescence while watching her character's actions and even more so by the end of the film.
Chimo is a complex character and it is fascinating to see his story. I have met many "Chimos." He is stuck in a life that he did not create, yet feels helpless to change, so he doesn't try. As the movie begins, he is writing and telling a story, thereby setting the stage for all the meetings with Lila that are included in the film.
Chimo and his mother have an interesting relationship. He definitely loves her, but he is frustrated because he believes she has given up on living a full life. The same could be said of his mother as she questions his motivation-level.
I really enjoyed this film and think it is beautifully filmed. Makes me want to visit Marseilles.
The songs were well-chosen. I actually wished more of the soundtrack had been French or Arabic music, perhaps it was more real that many songs are in English. I am not sure what French teenagers listen to...
I recommend this film to viewers over 16 years old, but actually could see watching it with younger adolescents as a catalyst for a "teachable moment."
A bittersweet ending that leaves some details hanging for the viewer to fill in.
32 of 36 people found this review helpful.
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