Yasmine Belmadi

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Wild Side (2004) Review


Excellent
It's a tale told over and over again: lonely souls adrift in a cruel world finding each other and creating a new kind of family with the strongest of bonds. Tell the tale incorrectly, and it can dissolve into sap and cliché. Tell it right, as director Sébastien Lifshitz and writer Stéphane Bouquet do in Wild Side, and the result is a moving story that offers hope for even the loneliest soul.

Set in Paris and the countryside of Northern France, the film brings together three very different lost souls: Stéphanie (Stéphanie Michelini), a pre-op transsexual prostitute; her roommate Jamel, a bisexual hustler of Moroccan descent who does his best work in Paris's skankiest railway bathrooms; and Mikhail, a traumatized Russian soldier who illegally immigrated to Paris and has fallen in love with both Stephanie and Jamel. Luckily, they have both fallen in love with him too. A weirder ménage à trois you will never encounter.

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Criminal Lovers Review


Unbearable
She's a mouthy, demanding, bratty femme fatale who always wants her own way. Her cuckold is a slightly goofy young fellow who hangs on her every word and submissively goes along with whatever scheme she cooks up. These are our unsympathetic heroes in Francois Ozon's latest exercise in cinematic shock treatment, Criminal Lovers.

After a preliminary scene in bed where the girl, Alice (Natacha Regnier, unrecognizable from The Dreamlife of Angels), mouths off to the boy, Luc (Jeremie Renier), taking a photograph of his limp penis and threatening to mail it to his mother, they commit a violent crime. Without fully knowing their motive, our title characters meander into a high school shower and stab their jock classmate Said (Salim Kechiouche).

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