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Slightly over-the-hill actress Nina has a fainting spell in a Paris park and Sami, an Algerian man out for a run comes to her aid. She seeks him out afterwards to return some property and discovers he works at night as a female prostitute. Nina is drawn to him and a friendship develops as he attempts to kick his drug habit and she tries to revive her acting career sidelined when she moved to Russia for years. Written by
Nice try to show a different kind of encounter of social outsiders
Though being a hardcore Fanny Ardant fan I have to admit that this movie won't make it into my list of favorites. Fanny's acting nevertheless is absolutely flawless and shows again her huge spectrum as an actress. Also her counterpart Roschdy Zem convinces with a solid performance and transports the picture of a lost character with deep impact on the viewer. But the story doesn't keep up with the director's ambition. The plot runs short and flattens towards a strange and silly end. To me it seemed that they hadn't made up their mind about the movie's end until they had almost finished the shooting. It destroys the good impression of the numerous, really touching and heart wrenching scenarios that carry this film. Another big weakness of the story lies in the lack of real peaks and highlights. A director or story board writer doesn't always have to follow the "2-peak-rule", of course, but if the viewer isn't shaken by some outstanding and most of all recognizable elements that break the strand, boredom will be the inevitable result. These technical weaknesses have impeded the out-coming of a perhaps great movie because the topic and the characters lay the ground for the presentation of a rarely discussed social phenomenon: the life of male prostitutes from the Magreb, illegal emigrants living on the edge of French society, their bonding and strategies of surviving, their dreams and falls. The encounter of another outsider of society, a run-down actress out of work, physically of great beauty and most definitively an experienced and talented performer, but too old for many directors and out of the business for too long could have resulted in a deeply shaking drama. Unfortunately, the cast's great performance on screen isn't enough for that. On the list of positive features I must note that the director balanced scenes of sexual cruelty and humiliation with moments of soft, romantic and tender love. But then stylistic elements to deliberately confuse the viewer are overused in the beginning and lose their effect or seem displaced (e.g. Nina entering a taxi to run away from Sami followed by the scene of a man sitting in his car while somebody is doing a blow job on him and everybody thinks it must be Nina to pay the taxi ride), some interesting characters aren't explored deeply enough and remain too superficial (e.g. Fidele or the theater director). The relationship between Nina and the gallery owner who obviously finances her during her time of unemployment isn't explained satisfyingly and leaves too many questions open. Perhaps the movie's title should have been "Je change ma vie" (I change my life) instead of "Change moi ma vie" (Change my life) because the main characters actually don't change each other or wait passively for the other's help but receive an impulse by their mutual encounter so that they do something themselves about their specific situation - for the better or the worse.... Still the movie deserves a fairly good rating due to the daring topic, the great acting of Fanny Ardant, the perfectly matching soundtrack and the partly really realistic illustration of the social circumstances in which the characters live.
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