7.0/10
4,471
21 user 37 critic

Lila Says (2004)

Lila dit ça (original title)
Two inner-city teenagers engage in an obsessive, innocent flirtation fueled by Lila's sexually explicit overtures.

Director:

Ziad Doueiri

Writers:

Chimo (book), Ziad Doueiri | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Vahina Giocante ... Lila
Moa Khouas Moa Khouas ... Chimo (as Mohammed Khouas)
Karim Ben Haddou Karim Ben Haddou ... Mouloud
Lotfi Chakri Lotfi Chakri ... Bakary
Hamid Dkhissi Hamid Dkhissi ... Big Jo
Edmonde Franchi Edmonde Franchi ... Lila's Aunt
Carmen Lebbos Carmen Lebbos ... Chimo's Mother
Ghandi Assad Ghandi Assad ... Sammy
Dominique Bluzet Dominique Bluzet ... Priest
Stéphanie Fatout Stéphanie Fatout ... Claire Soulier
Barbara Chossis Barbara Chossis ... Chinese Prostitute
Bruno Esposito Bruno Esposito ... Police Inspector
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Storyline

In a poor Arab neighborhood, the nineteen years old Chimo 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, who lives with a deranged aunt, his gross friend Mouloud 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. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and a brief violent image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Ioncinema | Official site [France]

Country:

France | UK

Language:

French | Arabic

Release Date:

26 January 2005 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Lila dice See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,599, 26 June 2005

Gross USA:

$121,365

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$537,871
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Chimo: I decided to leave. Lila was the only reason to stay or to leave. Lila was the only reason.
See more »

Alternate Versions

US theatrical version was released without a MPAA rating. For the Sony Entertainment DVD release the film was optically fogged to obscure explicit artwork in a French comic book to secure it's R-rating. See more »

Soundtracks

If I Could
Performed by Vanessa Daou
Produced by Peter Daou
Almo Music Corp. and Vandal Publishing (ASCAP)
MCA RECORDS
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful
1 December 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

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.


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