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French road trip movie surrounding Algerian immigrants retracing their parents' steps back to the old country. Disenfranchised French Algerian Zano (Romain Duris) and his lover Naima (Lubna Azabal) decide to reverse-exile themselves from their adopted homeland and take a trip back to their parents' home country. Taking along nothing but music for the ride, they fruit-pick and hitchhike their way across France and Spain. The journey proves poignant and touching as they meet African refugees heading the other way for a slice of the life that proved so dissatisfactory to the pair. Partly based on director Tony Gatlif's own background, Exiles has received consistently wide acclaim for its examination of the nature of freedom in Europe today and its deep cultural insight.
French cinema continues to thrill and disappoint in equal measure. This film features the usually excellent Romain Duris and the promise of a French Road Movie with him in seemed to offer a lot of potential - a fact seemingly corroborated by the positive reviews on this site.
Unfortunately, this is a film that vaccilates between between being inspired and being awful. It recounts the story of a couple of Algerian descent who decide to embark on a trip to the land of their anscestors on a whim. Nothing really happens on the journey through Spain other than befriending an Arab couple who are headed in the opposite direction and the girl is unfaithful to Duris' character with a bloke with the kind of mullet hairstyle that makes him look like a 1980's footballer. Other than that, the film's only achievement is to succeed in making Spain look like a Third World country as opposed to part of Europe. It also features alot of Spanish and Arab musicians at various stages throughout the film and, as stated by other reviewers, the heady dancing to the vamp played by the musicians in Algiers is over-long and tedious in the extreme.
The film only picks up when the couple arrive in Africa, initially arriving in Morocco by mistake. By this point, it is clear that the script would appear to be improvised and the cast is largely composed on non-actors. Throughout the film, the director contrasts the differences between Western and Arab culture, the former probably in a less favourable light. In my opinion, this film would be worth one star as it's only true merits are the music, the sometimes original cinematography and the slightly political / social commentary which is dealt with in a markedly different fashion than some other (superior) French films like "Intimate enemies" or "Ingigenes." The extra star is awarded for the surprise that Duris' character's roots are not as anticipated as his partner's and this offers the only truly poignant moment in the film. Other than this, it was an interesting experience but certainly not a particularly brilliant film. There is almost a Channel 4 feel to this film and whilst I would applaud it's worthy intentions, it is not especially entertaining.Read more ›
Love my French movies and quite a fan of Duris, very versatile actor. This was a bit of a mish nash really, good idea but at times it seems to drag and the last major scene in the films drags on a little too long for me. If youre a Duris completeist its probably worth a look but I'm not so sure I'll watch it again .. maybe once more to see if I missed anything.
A haphazard trip reflects a haphazard style of film which seems to contain a bit of everything ranging from the political, historical, geographical to the ethnic and cultural. It leaves you a little dazed as to what the storyline actually is but but somehow it all does work. A couple of the scenes were a bit drawn out but I can say I enjoyed this film and learnt something from it.