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Exils

Director: Tony Gatlif

FRANCE| 2004| FRENCH W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES| ARABIC| ROMANY DIALOGUE| COLOUR| DOLBY DIGITAL| 104 MINS


With Exiles, Algerian-French director Tony Gatlif braids together themes that have been threaded in and out of his 14 films into one sturdy hammock. Arguably, Exils is Gatlif’s most personal film in years as it follows a pair of Parisian slackers from France to Algiers, filled with the usual brew of gypsies, dirty seductions, and lashings of music. The story of Zano Boulanger (played by the star of Gadjo Dilo Romain Duris)and Naima (Lubna Azabal) is introduced with the pair, naked in a bedroom in Paris rocking to a strong, Patti Smith-meets-techno-styleopening track by Gatlif and collaborator Delphine Mantoulet, the two hardly seem to know each other but decide to travel to Algeria by train, bus and foot. Zano is descended from French colonials expelled from the North African country in 1962, while Naima’s the daughter of Algerian Arabs.
Gatlif’s take on Algerian culture is far less romanticised than one would expect given the story’s trajectory. The director displays a sincere affection for both the central and peripheral characters. Both actors bring great charm and mutual chemistry to their slight, but well acted roles. Collaborating with composer Mantoulet, Gatlif creates a wonderful soundtrack; a mixture of electronic instruments and techno beats with more traditional ethnic tunes to create his most varied and funkiest sounding score in years.

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