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1 review, 3 user ratings

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Games of Love and Chance
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by Jason Whyte

"Le longue!"
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2004 VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. We all know a kid like Krimo. This is a kid who clearly knows what he wants, but is so quiet and so monotone about it all that everyone around him appears to be a good 10 decibels higher volume. Towards the end of "L'esquive", Krimo is trying to practice lines with a girl he has a crush on, but delivers his lines, as Lars Ulrich of Metallica would say, as "stock", despite his teacher nagging him to raise his voice a little.

It takes a good actor to play someone who is as monotone as Krimo, and Osman Elkharraz does a good job at playing a love-struck kid living in rural french ghetto, with its endless banks of inexpensive-looking apartment blocks. He has an on-off relationship with a girlfriend but doesn't actually end it with her. There's Lydia (Sara Forestier) who he practices his lines for "A Game of Love and Chance", and Krimo is very much in love with her, although Lydia doesn't realize it. This longing sets off a major problem for Krimo's former girlfriend, who confronts Lydia with violent rage about her feelings.

There are scenes of outright nagging in the film that tend to go on for much longer than they actually have to, and scenes where the recital of a simple play drags on forever. It's most likely that we will actually see the play being performed, but to get there we have to sit through painful arguing scenes where the kids seem to have years of pain and agony built up ready to explode. Much of the action involves the small group of kids who all become involved by how Krimo feels about Lydia, and a section towards the end of the film involves a friend of Krimo becoming violent on one of Lydia's friend, because friends need answers.

At just under two hours, we are thrown through a ringer of emotions and outstanding acting, but as an entire film, it is just too long and too painful for most to sit through. A scene where the police become involved in a climactic sequence nearly strikes as Deux es Machina, and then the police suddenly disappear afterwards, as if it was all a dream. Also, the film never really convinces us of Krimo's ex girlfriend actually having a relationship with the quiet teen; it almost seems as a plot device to make it more difficult for Lydia to try to have a relationship with him.

The director, Adbellatif Kechiche, blends an interesting diversion of races into this low-class area of France. His cast nearly appears to be people that he's plucked off the street from all different ethnic backgrounds. In fact, Lydia is the only caucasian in this group, and what's interesting is no one really in the film seems to notice, let alone care. It's just too bad that none of them can get along.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9630&reviewer=350
originally posted: 09/25/04 14:20:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/02/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 3 stars
9/28/04 Luciano See French films only if you SPEAK FRENCH - because, LA LONGUE, it gets tiring... 3 stars
7/05/04 Dust For Eyes A solid and sweet film - but watch out for the ending! 4 stars
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