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Games of Love and Chance
Games of Love and Chance
Actors: Osman Elkharraz, Sara Forestier, Sabrina Ouazani, Nanou Benhamou, Hafet Ben-Ahmed
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
UR     2006     2hr 3min

A sensitive, daringly original and deeply human portrait of a group of teenagers living in the projects outside Paris and surviving in a world marginalized by society. Set during preparations for a school production, it ca...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Osman Elkharraz, Sara Forestier, Sabrina Ouazani, Nanou Benhamou, Hafet Ben-Ahmed
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Creators: Lubomir Bakchev, Ghalya Laroix, Charles Taris, Franck Cabot-David, Jacques Ouaniche
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Teen, Love & Romance
Studio: New Yorker Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/18/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 3min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Thoughtful but disheartening look at life in the French subu
Andres C. Salama | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 01/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This French film, also released as L'Esquive in some countries, is a quite disheartening look at life in the public housing projects outside Paris. In a crumbling neighbourhood with a majority of immigrants from Northern Africa, a high school tries to produce a play by Pierre Marivaux (1688-1763). The heart of the film is the budding romance between the vivacious blonde Lydia (one of the few "native" French living in the neighbourhood) and the shy and painfully inarticulate Krimo, who is ridiculized by his thuggish friends for taking a part in the play. All the kids speak in an unintelligible slang, which makes a contrast with the classical French of Marivaux. I wrote it was disheartening (despite not being a drama) because it shows that the marginalized inhabitants of the projects have an almost nil chance of breaking into the mainstream of French society. Thoughtful and worth seeing.
Stop the Shouting and Arguing
Daniel G. Lebryk | 08/29/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Games of Love and Chance is a well meaning, well intentioned, serious look at the plight of minority teenagers in France. But the good intentions are just ruined by one of the most annoying films I have seen in ages. From the first scene, its clear this film will be bad. Although the thoughts were in the right place, this is just a lousy film.

The movie opens with several teenage boys talking. They speak in ghetto French. The language is extremely strong, the translations are roughly accurate, maybe even a bit mild in English. They are talking about going to beat up some other guys. What starts off as a reasonable back and forth, quickly turns into yelling. They argue over and over and over about the same thing. They all yell at once. The camera darts back and forth between each boy, confusing the issue even more. Now this scene would have been fine, taken alone. The film calms down. The central character, Krimo, walks away. The camera follows him. He stands in front of an HLM (public housing in France), and calls for his girl friend. They meet on the stairway. They start arguing. She starts yelling and cussing at him. And we're off to the noise races again. The movie calms down for a few minutes, then we get more yelling and arguing at another location. This goes on for a full 2 hours with absolutely no reprieve.

In theory there is a parallel story between the lives of these teenagers and a classic play they are rehearsing in their French class. Its all about class distinction. Their teacher spends about 4 minutes in a deep intellectual heartfelt discourse on how people can put on the clothes of the other class, but they will always be seen as from the wrong class. It is a lame attempt at making this film seem intellectual in some way.

Frankly, after 20 minutes, I was exhausted watching this mess develop. I slogged through the full bitter 2 hours. The comparison between the play and their lives was done with such a heavy hand. I was grateful for the ending of this film.

Technically the film was shot documentary style, handheld camera, poorly recorded sound, poor lighting, frequently out of focus shots, and poor pacing. The actors are all young, and likely from the neighborhood. They actually played themselves rather well. I fault the director for being so in your face, with no concept of how to slow down or pace a film. The arguing about miniscule details over and over and over was just too much to support. The language was realistic.

Some may feel this is a necessary view into the boring life of children in what amounts to a ghetto. The mistreatment by the police. That this film preserves some form of their language. To some people opera singing is the most beautiful thing in the world, to others is is as bad as fingernails on a blackboard. From me, this movie was 2 hours of scratching the blackboard."
Star-crossed love in the projects . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 08/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film from Tunisian-born French director Abdel Kechiche immerses the viewer in the world of its teenage characters, where boys and girls move in packs and live by restrictive tribal codes. It's a world where adults are mostly elsewhere - if not in jail - and there is nothing but time on a teenager's hands. Differences of opinion rapidly escalate into shouting matches, fierce loyalties and jealous rivalries are the norm, and intense disputes spring up over conflicting romantic interests.

The thread that runs through the film involves rehearsals for a high school production of French playwright Marivaux' "Game of Love and Chance," a play with a comic portrayal of love that mirrors the one that develops between the two main characters - Krimo and Lydia. While Lydia revels in the delights of flirtation on stage, she is far less certain how to deal with the infatuation of her real-life counterpart, Krimo, who is unable to do anything but moon over her in helpless infatuation. The attempts of Krimo's friend to resolve what he sees as a serious problem creates a comedy of its own - until interrupted by some heavy-handed police officers.

At almost two hours, the film is overlong for its story line, and some of the shouting matches get to be repetitive. Shot in closeup and cut with the pace of an MTV video, the film offers few moments for reflection. But it captures well the self-absorbed world of urban teenagers, filled with high intensity emotions and equal parts frustration and boredom. For that alone, it's well worth seeing."
The "Sin" of Being Born Pretty...
Audra Thomas | 04/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I very much enjoyed this film, in that its docu-drama, real-time look and feel, at once envelops the viewer and then pulls the viewer right into the action. I was truly uncertain if this was a scripted movie or one that relied (heavily) on improvisation... so "real" do the fast-as-fire dynamics among the wonderful young actors seem. This film, it is true, offers little hope for the young protaganists, living in the real,present-time outskirts of Paris, in their cocoon-ish "public-housing/projects"-world.

For me, the real "truth" of this film is offered by the peer-societal censure of Lydia, the blond, beautiful, passionate young European-looking girl living side-by-side her co-habitants of the projects... all darker-complected and from Muslim Norhtern Africa. Lydia is truly the agent(e)-provocateur/teuse of this film... without wishing it for herself: the blond exotic among the throng of those from "outside", who comprise the majority in the closed, limited world of the projects. Lydia has to be the Star.. in her class' mounting of Marivaux' "Les Jeux de l'Amour et du Hasard" because she is the Star in the lives of all her peers in the projects... she is a Star by-default. Yet, her stardom comes at a price.Her beauty and uniqueness make her the frien-emy of all those who know her.She is accused of leading-on her young childhood friend, Krimo, when his feelings for her change into those of a young man entering adulthood, and she is so startled by the revelation of his new feelings that she is caught totally off-guard.Krimo had asked to be cast as her opposite in the Marivaux play... just to be closer to her... but the "acting" experience is beyond him, rendering him a self-conscious, mumbling, inept failure, ridiculed by the class. Asking for time to assess these new feelings and to determine how she feels able to respond... or not, becomes the impetus for the abuse Lydia suffers from all those who would call her "friend". Krimo, who has fallen so in-love with this childhood friend, now so beautiful, becomes paralyzed by his feelings towards her, and is riduculed by his male friends who tell him that he is ruining his all-important reputation as an alpha-male in the projects.

For me, my feelings go-out to Lydia, and the love-hate relationship she has with all her "friends"; she's far too beautiful and different for her environment; she's a resident-outcast in her own country of origin. At once- the Star, by all who gaze upon her... and at the same time, resented for the same reason.Her only real "sin" was to have born pretty."