Lubna Azabal

Lubna Azabal

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Free Men Review


Good
In German-occupied Paris, Younes (Rahim) is a young Algerian who sells black-market goods to North African immigrants. When he's arrested, the cops offer him freedom if he agrees to spy on a local mosque leader (Lonsdale) who's suspected of hiding Jews by giving them identity papers saying they are Muslims. At the mosque, Younes falls for the mysterious Leila (Azabal) and befriends the gifted musician Salim (Shalaby). And he's unnerved to discover that Leila is actually a notorious resistance fighter, while Salim is secretly Jewish.Filmmaker Ferroukhi tells this story with a strong attention to detail, keeping the period settings nicely understated while concentrating on the character interaction, which is complex and involving. But a slow-burning approach, combined with the dry screenplay, never injects much emotional energy into the film, which leaves it feeling almost like a museum piece: a meticulous retelling of an important story without artistic passion.

That said, the actors are all terrific, most notably the magnetic Rahim, through whose eyes we watch the events unfold. He beautifully plays Younes' quiet discovery of each layer of truth, from his initial carefree lawlessness to agreeing to help the authorities and ultimately to risking his life to save people he perhaps should be shunning. But the film beautifully points out that Islam isn't about hating the Jews: it's about respecting human life.And there's a lot more going on in the story. Strong subplots involving both Leila and Salim are only barely touched upon and could actually be expanded into much more engaging movies than this one. And this is a refreshingly restrained depiction of the Nazis. Sure, they're tenacious and inhuman, but they're also never vilified into cartoon villains, which subtly makes them even more chilling. And even if it lacks any real kick, the film is an important account of normal, flawed people doing what they can in terrible circumstances.

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Coriolanus Trailer


Caius Marcus is a brilliant Roman general who is hailed as 'the hero of Rome', after returning from a war against the Volscians, a neighbouring Italian tribe. Rome wins the war and takes the city of Corioles. In recognition of his part in the war, Caius Marcus is surnamed Coriolanus.

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Incendies Review


Excellent
This riveting, harrowing drama certainly isn't easy to sit through, as it tells a complex, often horrific story in an intensely personal way. And the raw performances and sure-handed filmmaking make it even more powerful.

After their mother Nawal (Azabal in flashbacks) dies, twins Jeanne and Simon (Desormeaux-Poulin and Gaudette) are given a quest by their mother's notary-boss (Girard): they must track down both their father and the brother they never knew they had. To accomplish this, they must travel to the Middle East and dig into their mother's background. And what they find is wholly unexpected, as Nawal's story is entwined with the violence of the region.

Piecing together the events is going to change them profoundly.

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Exiles Review


Good
There's nothing like a good road trip flick, especially when the travelers are two sexy young people in love making their way across exotic landscapes while a throbbing soundtrack propels them along. In Exiles, Zano (Romain Duris) and his lovely girlfriend Naima (Lubna Azabal) decide to abandon Paris and make their way back to their native Algeria to seek their roots even though neither one has any money nor speaks Arabic.

It's Zano who has the dreamier outlook. Naima is up for an adventure, but he's the one who feels that something is missing in their lives, that they're somehow disconnected from who they are and they must seek out their heritage. They hop trains without tickets, hang out and camp with gypsies, and seek out music and dancing wherever they go. Zano is rarely without his Walkman, and Naima will find any excuse to put on a little dance show, even in the middle of a field.

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Changing Times Review


Good
A man is buried under a heap of mud and dirt within the first five minutes of Andre Techine's Changing Times. It's not quite a mudslide since it's not on any sort of angle, but it piles on a man until a group of workers have to dive into the hole to dig him out. Not surprisingly, this event punctuates the subdued surreal nature of the film.

Antoine (Gérard Depardieu) has a nice job. He oversees construction for a company who builds media centers all over the world, using his skills as an engineer and a negotiator to keep projects rolling. These skills were not used to his advantage earlier in his life when he dated Cécile (Catherine Deneuve), who now makes her living as a radio show host and a wife to Nathan (Gilbert Melki), a renowned doctor. Fate, as it tends to do, intervenes (interferes) and sends Antoine to Tangiers, where Cécile lives. At the same time, Cécile and Nathan's son Sami (Malik Zidi) and his partner Nadia (Lubna Azabal) come home for vacation time. By vacation, they actually mean for Sami to visit his secret boyfriend and for Nadia to visit her sister, Aïcha (Lubna again). The film mainly pivots on Antoine's quest to get Cécile back, which begins as gazing from afar and eventually becomes family interaction.

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Paradise Now Review


OK
Writer-director Hany Abu-Assad's social realist tract Paradise Now, which he co-wrote with Bero Beyer, gives us a blueprint of lives and circumstances that entwine and eventuate in a suicide-bombing mission in modern-day Palestine. It's a thoughtful rumination on the dead-end cycle of violence that ruts an entire society in poverty and endless mourning.

Said (Kais Nashif) may be strikingly handsome with his scraggly curls and piercing eyes, but consider his dead-eyed gaze for a moment and you realize he's living on a whole different planet. Since his boyhood, Said has both begrudged and sought to distance himself from the legacy of his father, found to be a collaborator with the Israelis and, hence, executed. Said's close friend, Khaled (Ali Suliman), likewise nurses a deep-rooted shame for his father, who he once witnessed capitulating with Israeli soldiers. Said and Khaled have since formed a pact to give their lives together to the Palestinian cause, and go out in a redeeming blaze of glory.

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Almost Peaceful Review


OK
The problem with Michel Deville's soulful meditation on life for Jews immediately after WWII is that nothing much happens over the 90 minute running time. A Holocaust survivor opens (and overstaffs) a tailor shop, while each of the employees tries to put their life back together. Their featherweight plots connect at the shop, and give the movie the barest notion of forward mobility. This is the kind of movie that stuffy film critics rate highly out of a sense of guilt and fear, but which never connect with real audiences, desperately waiting for something to happen.

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