Hoping that self-employment through gig economy can solve their financial woes, a hard-up UK delivery driver and his wife struggling to raise a family end up trapped in the vicious circle of this modern-day form of labour exploitation.
In a popular suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another.
1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
Cannes award winning film from the Dardenne Brothers
The justifiably renowned Dardenne Brothers won the Cannes Directing prize for YOUNG AHMED, but, it isn't one of their stronger films, despite some interesting thematic elements. Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi) is a teenage Muslim in Belgium who, under the influence of a radical Imam (Othmane Moumen ) becomes increasingly strict in his religious practices putting him at odds with the more open ways of his school and even his own family (neither his mother (Claire Bodson) or sister wear hijabs).
When Ahmed puts his radical thoughts into action he is placed in a youth detention/rehabilitation center. It is there that the bulk of the brief 84 minute picture is set, and where Ahmed continues to struggle finding his way between his ultra-conservative and strict principles, and adapting to the modern world.
Much of the criticism of the Dardennes has been that it doesn't provide enough answers about Ahmed. Throughout their distinguished careers, the brothers have never been ones to provide easy conclusions, they are most adept at posing questions and challenging the viewer. What keeps YOUNG AHMED from fully succeeding is that in their best work (ROSETTA, L'ENFANT) the directing team finds a way to provide a strong dramatic narrative to pose their queries. Here, Ahmed's tale, while well documented, fails to fully engage. The movie has moments, but, they are fleetingly effective.
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