Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Cheb Khaled, Mohamed Khelifati, Mouss, Najim Laouriga, Farid Fedjer
Director: Mahmoud Zemmouri
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Music Video & Concerts
In this light-hearted musical comedy with a message, a North African pop group called Rap Oriental uses music to triumph over the bigotry and violence in 100% Arabica, the housing project on the outskirts of Paris that the... more »
A French "Krush Groove"
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 06/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Granted, this work doesn't have the strongest plot. The characters are stock, rather than complex or dynamic. The film ended two minutes too abruptly, possibly in order not to film violence. Still, this was a worthy film that I'd recommend to many others due to its novelty. I'm an African American and I'd say few Americans who know about French banlieu life. It was fascinating to see life in a Western community of color, outside of an American context.
The percentage of Arabs in France is much higher than the percentage of Arabs in the US. This film is filled with Arab men who are just jaw-droppingly hot. A viewer could be pleased to see this film just for their aesthetic alone. There's a video series called "Wassup Bro?" that viewers who like this movie should also see.
If you watch carefully, this movie had as many Blacks in it as it had Arabs. The only American movie like that is the gawt-awful film "Forbidden Fruits." Though sometimes you see American films with Black and Brown characters, usually a film in the US is either mostly Black or mostly Brown. Few films would ever portray US Blacks and US Latinos as bosom buddies. One exception is the documentary "Paris Is Burning." It was amazing to see person-of-color unity in another country. At first, it seemed like this unity depended upon the groups staying away from each other romantically. However, at one point, you see a Black man dance with an Arab woman.
What was portrayed about rai in France will remind many of the early days of rap in New York burroughs. At one point, a mother implies that she dislikes her children's taste in music, but then she is seen jamming to it in private. Later the father does the same thing. I imagine that happened a lot in the late 1970s in the Bronx and Brooklyn too. I love hearing the nasally, twangy vocals in this rai music. At one point, a cheb was singing a slow song and audience members were swaying as if it were the most up-tempo jam. That did seem like an error.
The villain in this film is a zealous Islamic clergyman. Here in the US, portraying a Christian clergy member as the bad guy would be a risky move in a film. I was very surprised that a Muslim clergy member could be portrayed this way. If religious tensions are a big problem in France, then I'm shocked that this movie could get away with that representation. I'd say most American films focus on either men, women, or children separately. This film had almost equal numbers of men, women, and children in it. It didn't treat the three groups as if they lived in separate spheres."