Three Dancing Slaves

Rated NR 2005

From French director Gaël Morel (Wild Reeds), Three Dancing Slaves is a well-crafted, finely acted movie about three young-adult brothers adrift since their mother's death, attempting to survive in a world that doesn't want them. It's also remarkably unpleasant to watch, since middle-brother Marc (Nicholas Cazale) acts out his rage by engaging in a vendetta cycle with drug lords and thugs who force him to kill his own dog, among other things. Christophe (Stephane Rideau), the oldest, returns from prison and tries to live a straight life; Olivier (Thomas Dumerchez), the sensitive youngest, quietly withdraws from his brothers' stunts and parties to find love with another boy. The "dancing slaves" of the title refers to capoeira, a dance-like Brazilian martial art (developed by slaves) that Olivier and his friend study, and it's meant to refer to the brothers' imprisonment in their own feelings of abandonment and anger. It's a silly phrase, but it makes sense for a dark film that, despite a couple of hopeful resolutions, leaves an aftertaste of despair.

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