Abdellatif Kechiche impressed from the beginning with this sprawling tale of a North African immigrant attempting to make a better life for himself in France. Admitted on a temporary visa, Jallel (Sammi Bouajila) stays in a shelter, forming friendships, making money selling flowers and fruit at the metro, and beginning a tempestuous relationship with a local waitress. The relationship’s end sees him hospitalised for depression, where he meets fragile Lucie (Élodie Bouchez), and tries once again to forge a future for himself.
Covering a wide range of topics (among them, racism, immigration, and bureaucracy), it was an auspicious debut. (KC)
Winner: Golden Lion, Best First Film, Venice Film Festival 2000
Director’s Note: Kechiche’s directorial debut reveals his unique aesthetic approach, his talent as a benevolent observer, and his sense of romance and love for actors.
This film is screening as part of the Abdellatif Kechiche Programme in the Carte Noire IFI French Film Festival (November 20th – December 1st 2013).