Lila Says

Rated NR 2005

So much about this French film (based on a 1996 novel) is delightful. Mohammed Khouas plays Chimo, a shy and aimless Arab-French teenager struggling to find meaning in a Marseilles ghetto, with sensitivity and light. Vahina Giocante, starring opposite as Lila, inhabits her strumpet/angel role with a surprisingly adept mixture of innocence and insouciance. The music is as rich and pulsing as the sexuality, of which there is plenty; Lila makes a sport of turning Chimo on with erotic stories, either acts she has performed or wishes to perform. The film has a lot to say about the plight of the young North African in France: "We're not about conquering the world. We're looking for something to do, and there is nothing." What's unfortunate about Lila Says is its ending, including a sudden act of violence and rushed resolution. The violence makes sense, and the film could have ended there; as it stands, it's an American ending tacked on a European film.

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Lila Says

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