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|Index||20 reviews in total|
I just saw it, and I was really pleased. Very nice movie, disturbing at times, but in a very nice way. I believe the Ziad Doueiry really knows how to make good things out of his low budget: Very nice camera movement. Very good lighting, very nice image. And a very nice story. Also a lot of details that make the movie seem rather clever. Credit also goes to Vahina Giocante, whose performance is stunning. No matter how much she tries to disturb you, you will love her more and more as the movie goes on. If you're a big fan of beauty, be prepared, you're really gonna enjoy her. Back to Ziad Doueiry: he certainly proved that West Beirut wasn't a matter of luck. He's proving that he is a very good Lebanese director. And believe me, it's hard to be a good Lebanese director, due to the limited funds available, which can have a negative effect, "physically" (if you know what I mean) and morally.
I found this film very enjoyable. I believe the setting is actually
Marseilles... not a Paris suburb as was mentioned in another review,
However, a "poorer neighborhood" of "anywhere, big-city France" would
describe it. I think this film can even provide a bit of insight into
the underlying causes of the riots in France in Fall 2005.
Lila is an orphan, lives with her aunt/foster mother. She is beautiful and says many shocking things, even in the first two or three minutes of the film. (I would probably not let children watch this movie due to language, more than any other type of content.) Lila is a character who the viewer does not fully understand until the end of the film, which I will not spoil here. I was called back to my own adolescence while watching her character's actions and even more so by the end of the film.
Chimo is a complex character and it is fascinating to see his story. I have met many "Chimos." He is stuck in a life that he did not create, yet feels helpless to change, so he doesn't try. As the movie begins, he is writing and telling a story, thereby setting the stage for all the meetings with Lila that are included in the film.
Chimo and his mother have an interesting relationship. He definitely loves her, but he is frustrated because he believes she has given up on living a full life. The same could be said of his mother as she questions his motivation-level.
I really enjoyed this film and think it is beautifully filmed. Makes me want to visit Marseilles.
The songs were well-chosen. I actually wished more of the soundtrack had been French or Arabic music, perhaps it was more real that many songs are in English. I am not sure what French teenagers listen to...
I recommend this film to viewers over 16 years old, but actually could see watching it with younger adolescents as a catalyst for a "teachable moment."
A bittersweet ending that leaves some details hanging for the viewer to fill in.
I'm not exactly the target audience for realist dramas or romance
films. My tastes lean heavily towards fantasy, especially horror, the
darker side of that broad genre. I tend to prefer stereotypical "guy"
and adolescent films. But Lila Says is a beautiful, extremely well made
film in many ways. I only subtracted one point because it is just a tad
slow in a few sections; however, I can easily see revising my score to
a 10 on subsequent viewings.
The story is set in an Arab ghetto outside of Paris. Chimo (Mohammed Khouas) has a talent for writing, but because it's not exactly what anyone expects of him, and seriously pursuing it would involve removing himself from the only world that he knows, he sweeps it under a rug more or less and spends most of his time with three somewhat brash friends. Suddenly, a beautiful French girl, Lila (Vahina Giocante), moves into the neighborhood with her foster mom. Chimo and his friends are all understandably taken with her, but she only pays attention to Chimo, in secret. Lila Says is the story of their growing but odd relationship, which despite Lila's increasingly outrageous stories and sexual comments and behavior, remains mostly platonic.
I've already mentioned that Giocante is beautiful, as is Khouas, as far as I can judge, but so is the setting and the cinematography. Lila says would be worth a watch for the latter alone. Chimo may live in a ghetto, but director of photography John Daly sure knows how to make gorgeous and attractive. Likewise, the songs and the score in the film are beautiful.
But most importantly, the story is very engaging. Director Ziad Doueiri is able to turn a film that is really mostly talking in a limited number of settings into something often as gripping as an adventure/thriller, with hints of both of those genres. Lila's behavior and stories are often surprising, and her relationship with Chimo is complex and realistic. The ending has something of a twist (two, actually) that makes the film more tragic, but at the same time, Lila is a catalyst that brings full realization to "true selves", whether that ends up being a triumph, as in the case of Chimo and his mother, or a disaster, as in the case of another character.
"Lila Says (Lila dit ça)" is the freshest and most original update of
"Romeo and Juliet" since "West Side Story."
The transgressive nature of their relationship is dealt with much more explicitly, both in their differences and their sexual attraction. Parallel to "À Tout de Suite (Right Now)" as a relationship between a Polish blonde, "Lila," and an Arab teen, "Chimo," and both being based on putatively true stories, it has far more passion and gets us right into their heads as these two most unlikely soul mates find each other.
Lila's sudden appearance in the vividly shown immigrant slums of Marseilles stands her out immediately, like "an angel" she claims and she is clearly fascinated by his "olive skin." They each reach out counter to their culture and tantalize taboos -- he eschews macho aggression for transfixed listening, while she is quite literally a C.T., with arousing sexual descriptions pouring out of that potty pouty mouth very much like a modern day Scheherazade in an Arabian Days, particularly on one quite memorable bike ride.
We see more and more how this odd relationship becomes a haven for them, as she is an orphaned victim of sexual abuse who has learned the power of being seen as a Lolita fantasy object and he is surrounded by, as he calls them, "losers", frustrated by unemployment and post-9/11 suspicions. They start having an effect on each other as they learn to trust each other in one of the most tender evocations of first love amidst a way too sexually and politically charged environment.
She has a disturbed relationship with her female guardian, while "Chimo" has an unusually supportive and warm relationship with his mother, who was abandoned by his father's attraction to a Frenchwoman, which may explain why he is so much more sensitive than his rough and resentful friends.
When the pair's tentative pas de deux, however, starts to touch other people as they challenge expectations, he when he is faithful to her despite her challenging language of temptation and she by openly mocking the link between sex and religion, they incite jealousies and hysteria that build up in horrific speed to an unexpected tragedy and revelation that has incredible force and power.
It is somewhat of a cliché in the young immigrant love genre that "Chimo" as the narrator is struggling with being a writer, but his talent and insights fit both sweetly and dramatically into the storytelling.
Vahina Giocante, as "Lila," shifts amazingly from brazen flirt to demure school girl, while Mohammed Khouas, in his debut as "Chimo," is captivating and heart breakingly believable, both in his early naive curiosity and in his later growing maturity.
The editing is terrific at matching their emotions, with tight close-ups when they are together, and encompassing mise en scene shots of their environments when they separate.
The music selections well match their different backgrounds and coming together.
This is an exhausting and exhilarating look at young love and life lessons.
Truly LILA SAYS, says it all. There is so much to take in throughout this movie. From the beautiful camera work to the script which delivers a solid arsenal of sexual tension and brave dialog. Not since Jules and Jim has there been a movie like Lila Says that can cause separation in audience feeling and the characters. This movie succeeds in many ways, but seeing it it's English translation is worth it all. The writers, Mark Lawrence in particular, deserve to be congratulated in the writing of this script. From it's brave opening to the closure in the end, the movie keeps you wondering and worrying about precious LILA. Go see this movie while it is here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lila, a pretty blonde girl living in the Arab quarter of Marseilles,
sticks out like a sore thumb. Lila is young, voluptuous, and totally
foreign, in contrast with the rest of the inhabitants of that
neighborhood. Therefore, Lila becomes the object of desire for Chimo
and his three cronies that seem to spend their time hanging out without
any jobs to go to.
Thus begins this erotically charge tale of a romance between two unlikely partners, the blonde Lila and the dark and intense Chimo. Ziad Doueiri, the Lebanese director, bases his film in a novel by Chimo that from what we have read is an explicit account of their relationship.
Lila likes Chimo from the beginning. She realizes he isn't like the rest of his worthless friends. Lila loves to tease Chimo with her tales of erotic fantasies and loves talking 'dirty' to him. Chimo becomes infatuated with Lila, much to his friends' chagrin, who feel left out by Chimo's involvement with Lila. It's Mouloud, the more vocal of the gang that goes to spy on Lila and Chimo, but not finding anything, he returns to the girl's apartment with his friends to harm Lila.
It's not until that point, when Chimo goes to the apartment and finds Lila crying hysterically that he realizes the true secret about Lila, which is confirmed at the end of the film when the mysterious driver of the grey limousine that supposedly comes to pick up Lila for fun and games, is revealed to the audience. Then, and only then, we realize we have been taken for a ride by the Mr. Doueiri, as we realize Lila is just an innocent young woman.
Vahina Giocante makes a beautiful Lila, a girl that seems much older than her years reveal. Mohammaed Khouas is an enigmatic and serious Chimo. Karim Ben Haddou plays Mouloud, the man who misreads the relationship between Lila and Chimo.
The film message seems to point that beauty is only skin deep and that appearances are deceiving. Mr. Doueiri shows he has the potential for giving his viewers a run for their money.
In a poor Arab neighborhood, the nineteen years old Chimo (Mohammed
Khouas) lives alone with his mother and is a talented natural writer.
His school teacher offers him the chance to study in Paris, inclusive
with a letter of recommendation, but his mother can not afford and
Chimo stays. His three best friends are completely losers and
scoundrels. When the shy Chimo meets the gorgeous and sexy new-arrival
in the ghetto Lila (Vahina Giocante), who lives with a deranged aunt,
his gross friend Mouloud (Karim Ben Haddou) falls for her. However,
Chimo becomes close to Lila, who seduces him with her sexual games,
telling him about her perverted sexual experience. The inexperienced
Chimo falls in love for her, but he does not know how to declare his
love for the girl. When Mouloud sneaks and listens to a private
conversation between Lila and Chimo, he concludes that the girl is a
whore, with tragic consequences.
"Lila Dit Ça" is a wonderful coming-of-age low-budget movie, with a simple, touching, sensitive, consistent and real love story and magnificent direction, screenplay and performances. The tale shows also the lack of perspective of the youngsters of the lower classes in a First World Country and the effects of ignorance and prejudice. The unknown Mohammed Khouas is an excellent actor, and as Lila says, has very expressive eyes. Vahina Giocante is also great and very beautiful, with a perfect chemistry with Mohammed Khouas. I highly recommend this movie for viewers that wish to see a beautiful and sad romance. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Lila Diz " ("Lila Says ")
I had previously seen "West Beirut" (also directed and written by Ziad
Doueiri) and I really liked it. It had a special meaning to me because
I live in Lebanon (where the events of the movie take place) and I can
really relate to the the story and the characters. I had never gotten
around to watching "Lila Dit Ca" (But I had been wanting to for a long
time) Anyways, today I watched it and I have to say: It is a GREAT
movie!!!! The acting, the story, the directing... all superb!!! I
really think that Vahina Giocante was perfect for this role. She did an
excellent job of portraying the character. I am friends with Rami
Doueiri (Ziad Doueiri's brother and one of the main character from West
Beirut) and I honestly can't wait to get in touch with him and tell him
just how much I loved this movie!!! I think Ziad Doueiri really
deserves a big pat on the back for the great movies he is making!
I give this movie the 'Two thumbs up' !!!
"Lila dit ça" is a contemporary story about two teenagers, Chimo and
Lila, which have a hidden attraction for each other in spite of not
knowing each other very well
Chimo (Mohammed Khouas) is a young Muslim guy which lives with his mother and has a group of friends also Arab. He's quieter than the others, he's calm, peaceful and has a great dream: to become a writer but he thinks he'll never get it
Lila (Vahina Giocante) is a mysterious young girl who arrives in the neighborhood. From the very first moment Chimo is in love with her. At the beginning he didn't notice, he thinks it's just an attraction, but then he'll understand he is Lila is mysterious, acts strangely, but she's beautiful. She has the face of an angel (as is said by herself in the movie!) but the mind of a devil She's provocative, insinuating, and she's always speaking about sex, and about her sex She's a real devil with an angel face! But is she in love with Chimo (as he's for her), or is it just a game to her? By the end the viewer will find out!
It's a story about passion (teenage passion), self-discovery, teenage relationships, but it also portrays a reality of mixed cultures. It describes very well the shock between different cultures which stand side-by-side in the French suburbs nowadays It's just the plot's background but it ends being a good social portrait of these different cultures.
All in all it's a good movie which deserves a 7/10 score!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the chance to screen this movie in a Hungarian festival. A
colleague of mine said a lot of good things of this movie so I eagerly
wanted to see it. And as always I was ambushed due to someone's
How to say... I expected something extremely staggering drama and what I got was a staggering drama but not extremely. From the first time Lila started talking about sex the whole story became obvious. And it got even more obvious when Chimo's friends were shown more and more.
In the first few minutes I got scared because there were some allusions to racism, especially the conflict between the Muslim and not Muslim due to the 11th of September 2001. But it stayed in the level of discussing how difficult is for arabesque to get a job. So it didn't turn out to be a political "horror". LUCKILY! So let's see... we have Chimo an arabesque 19-year-old boy who most of the time just hangs around with his 3 best friends. They steal, harass girls, drink, smoke, whatever a couple of hopeless, sort of outcast guys can do. Chimo is a bit different from them but still he calls them his best friends. And he writes. Novels. And apparently he is talented and gets the great chance to get out of this misery and go to Paris learning to be a writer. But he turns it down, he thinks that this huge L wearing on his forehead can't be removed. He thinks his fate is sealed by being an arabesque in France. And that's what his friends hammer in his brain too. They obviously don't want him to break out. They don't manage it either.
Then we have Lila, a beautiful blond girl with gorgeous blue eyes who lives with her weird aunt.
So they meet. While Chimo's friends are trying to pique Lila's attention, Lila and Chimo immediately become ... well ... sort of friends. As long as the definition of friendship bears some j***ing off on a moped or some exhibitionism, or talking about and strictly just talking about sex. But these things can make a relationship even more beautiful and unforgettable, can't they? So when they meet they talk a lot. More like Lila talks, especially about her juicy dreams and filthy reveries. She even shares verbally her experiences and sexually exalted, sometimes pervert ideas with Chimo which obviously drives him crazy. But perhaps this makes Chimo feel this stronger and stronger love. He doesn't want to hang around with his friends anymore, he works in order to pay the bills. He tries to change. But his friends are not fond of this metamorphosis, and they are getting more and more aggressive. The fact that Lila refuses their "overtures" and she is not even willing to speak with them is fuel to the fire. The bomb explodes...
Summa summarum the movie is good. Very good, but nothing surprising happens in it. Still it is a beautiful love movie. I liked a lot that Ziad Doueiri eliminated the physical parts of sex (apart from this ominous hand job, but that doesn't count) and he focused on verbalism, and emotions which gives the peculiarity of the movie.
The ending is sad and happy at the same time, I found it perfect. A destroyed first love but hope of a better life.
Oh ... the music is brilliant. I suspect that people already got used to the fact that most of the time in french movies the producers abuse them with french songs (which is not always bad, but sometimes quite annoying - sorry about that). This movie is an exceptional. Frankly saying it has a compelling soundtrack.
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