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LILA SAYS (LILA DIT ÇA) (not rated) (2004)

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Official Site

Director: Ziad Doueiri

Producer: Marina Gefter

Written by: Ziad Doueiri, Mark Lawrence, Joelle Touma

Cast: Vahina Giocante, Mohammed Khouas, Karim Ben Haddou, Edmonde Franchi


It’s natural to be lost for words when a self-proclaimed angel asks, “Would you like to see my pussy?” The question itself is not really meant to be answered, because the answer is always “Yes, yes I would, thank you.” Apparently, in that situation, if you just act politely and don’t ask for more than you’re offered, you’ll get to see the holiest of holies. Just make sure you’re a cute, bright, clean-shaven boy with olive skin so that a seemingly boundless sexual being will approach you with that question. Otherwise you’re just gonna be left out, feeling alone, wound up, and criminally envious, or worse, cave to obsessive feelings of abandonment and dogmatic insanity and spend your days singing into your niece’s vagina. Damn, come to think about it I’m not sure which is worse.

Pull curtains to reveal French scenery. It’s a poor but functioning Arab neighborhood called Shady Grove. Enter Chimo (Khouas), a promising young boy who lives with his mother. He has a group of friends who have lost hope on having a harmonious existence in a world all too eager to label them terrorists. They steal from foreigners, fence whatever they don’t keep, and accumulate vice for as long as possible. Chimo has resigned himself to this meaningless existence, even after he has been appraised as talented by a teacher who wishes to get him a scholarship that might turn him into a writer. Enter Lila (Giocante), a wildly sensual young woman who cannot help confiding the incredibly indecent details of her imagination to Chimo. She awakens a spirit in him that could be his only hope of escaping Shady Grove without being arrested. Also, she shocks him with her sexy tales and deviant desires. But the alpha of his clique, Mouloud (Haddou), won’t let him acquire heaven that easily.

Ahh, to be 19 and be under a sexual angel’s care. Unfortunately, nobody that young has the sense to appreciate fortune. After watching this film, I must say that I liked it, but for some reason not that much. It had all the elements that make a good story, but they didn’t weave together very cleverly. Nothing in the story—the actors, the situations, or the writing—came out and struck me as great. I feel like I’d seen it all before. There’s the good guy in the bad crowd, the bad guy made worse by a harsh reality, and the girl in touch with herself called a whore. And, of course, the love of a woman bringing a man’s dead spirit to life. The story was just not original, and that bums me out. I don’t mean to spit on it in any way, because every story worth telling has been told a billion times in a million ways, but Chimo, Lila, and Mouloud were redundant characters in old situations (with the STRONG exception of Lila’s crazy fat Catholic lecherous lesbian aunt).

As for what’s good about the movie, it was just a good movie when it came down to it. Worth the time it takes to see, most definitely. As predictable as the rest of the movie was, the ending holds something of a tragic surprise. It also addressed a good young man’s troubles with seemingly strange sexual fantasies. Why would it be an expression of love to watch your lover be fucked by another man? Why would she want me to fuck another girl for her? Should I be disgusted? Should I buy a video camera? Did she just climb into a pornographer’s Mercedes? What was that about sucking off the devil? Holy shit, this girl is crazy.

—Duncan Wright

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

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