100% Arabica

"Grim"

100% Arabica Review


There must be something about Muslim-French-Algerian immigrant culture that gets lost in translation to white-boy-from-Texas culture. Reportedly a comedy, 100% Arabica is so steeped in the obscure subculture of French-Muslim tradition and Algerian Rai music that westerners are going to have a hard time relating to the movie.

To make any sense of it, you have to think of 100% Arabica as a French-Algerian version of The Full Monty. In a neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris, a group of dirt-poor Algerian immigrant musicians want nothing more than to infuse their traditional Algerian Rai music with western rap sounds and play to packed houses in the 'hood. Unfortunately, an evil and corrupt mosque-running mafia zealot named Slimane wants to stomp the music out, and the groups clash.

From what I could gather (okay, so I read it in the press notes), there's a mayor running for reelection who sides with Slimane... and, well, I kind of got lost after that. If 100% Arabica was a better-made movie I would have watched it again, but as it stands, it's really just a haphazard collection of scenes of the "Rap 'n Rai" musicians performing followed by scenes of Slimane threatening people. And something with a pork truck. The film abruptly ends 82 minutes after beginning, leaving you thoroughly confused.

I will give it one thing, that Rai music is certainly something else. And that pork truck is a trip.



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