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This romantic-kitsch story goes from Paris to Marseille, from Amsterdam to Morocco via Jean Genet's grave in Larache, and on to Tangiers. The movie tells the story of an Algerian-French heterosexual young man beginning a sociology study of gay islamic homosexualities and discovering gay love with a young French steward. Written by
up and out
Traveling the Same Old Road in a Very Different Way
I liked this movie, if for no other reason than its pure exoticism. The story of a Algerian student making a documentary as a University sociology class assignment frames the familiar story of a young male discovering his attraction to men. It's a slender premise, but adequate for the story to be told.
It was interesting to me that the student, Karim, sees homosexuality as a kind of surrender. There is a lot of anxiety about who is active and who is passive, as if there is no middle ground, or as if gay men sodomize and exclude all other sex acts. I suppose this is because Karim's interest is piqued when he learns of the pre-1940 same sex marriages in his culture. He seems only to be able to accept his gayness in this context of faux heterosexuality.
I liked the video-cinema-verite style--it added to the immediacy of the story. I liked watching the relationship develop between Karim and his admirer. And I liked the introduction to Algerian culture. As another reviewer mentions, the actors are attractive and real: there are no bronzed pecs and abs here. That alone makes this gay-themed film exotic . . . .
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