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Road to Love
Road to Love
Actors: Karim Tarek, Sihem Benemoune, Abdellah Taia, Mustapha Khaddar, Farid Tali
Director: Remi Lange
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2004     1hr 10min

This romantic drama follows a young and apparently straight French-Algerian student, Karim, on a sociological quest to find gay Muslims. Through is investigations, the likable and handsome Karim meets a number of gay Arab...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Karim Tarek, Sihem Benemoune, Abdellah Taia, Mustapha Khaddar, Farid Tali
Director: Remi Lange
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Water Bearer Films, Inc
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/09/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 10min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Sensitive, compelling story about some Islamic gays
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 11/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"2001's "Tarik El Hob" (The Road To Love) is billed as a "Drama" but views more like a documentary, with the subject being homosexuality among French-Algerians. Karin is a student living with his girlfriend in Paris, who decides to tackle a sociology video project on that topic, and seeks out those open enough to be interviewed on camera. One of the early interviewees is Farid, a gay flight attendant, and the chemistry between the two is evident in their first meeting. Karim rebuffs Farid's good-natured flirtations, but it is clear he is flattered by the attention and somewhat intrigued by the possibility, though he repeatedly states that he is heterosexual and in love with his girlfriend. Farid's travels allow him to collect additional footage and research for Karim's project, and they get better acquainted in future meetings to review the information he obtained. Farid comes up with some tough questions for Karim, including why he doesn't see himself ever marrying his girlfriend, and why he chose this particular topic for his project. In time, the two make a journey to Morocco together, supposedly to do more research for the project, but both know it is a "honeymoon" of sorts for Karin to think about and reconcile his desires.

Beyond the story above, the film (actually, shot on video, in Paris, Marseille, Amsterdam and Morocco) is an informative and intriguing study of homosexuality among some Islamic cultures, where it was seen as an acceptable activity for young men before they married a woman, and where same-sex marriages actually took place until the mid 20th century. The story is told well, with attractive, non-stereotypical "actors" (Though obviously scripted, one wonders if part of this may be somewhat autobiographical, with the characters having the same names as those who play them.) and commendable techncial quality given the tiny budget. In French with English subtitles, some male nudity but no explicit sexual activity. DVD features deleted scenes and expanded versions of some of Karim's interviews."
A Little Film That Packs a Wallop!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"ROAD TO LOVE is an obviously very low budget independent French film that introduces the audience to the theme of homosexuality as it is manifested among Islamic/Arab men. Writers Rémi Lange and Antoine Parlebas have created a script so natural, so sensitively real that at moments the film feels like a documentary (each of the young actors in the story bear their own names, the technique of storytelling is basically video interviews), but the impact of the move is quietly profound, without a trace of the saccharine or the gush of Hollywood films dealing with gay subject matter.

French Algerian Karim (Karim Tarek) is a student in Paris and spends his time with his girlfriend Sihem (Sihem Benamoune). He happens to view a television program about the gay life in Egypt in the 20th century, a life that allowed gay relationships and even marriages so along as the men gave up the lifestyle when they eventually married women. His interest in the subject results in a sociology project of interviewing gay Arab men to explore contemporary gay lifestyles. After a few aborted attempts (Karim is not sufficiently comfortable with the subject matter to gain the trust of his interviewees) Karim encounters Farid (Farid Tali), a gay, well-adjusted, quietly seductive handsome Algerian lad who not only agrees to be interviewed, but also finds ways to assist Karim with his project. Chemistry develops and the two depart Paris to visit Marseilles and Morocco and Karim discovers why the subject of choice fascinates him so!

The beauty of this film lies in the honesty in which it is written, directed, acted, and edited. Not only are we allowed to explore a subject matter few of us knew (Islamic homosexuality history and social mores), we are also presented with one of the more tender love stories on film - tender because it is not overt but rather because it is so naturally evolved. The actors are excellent and though they feel as though they are first time, off the street recruits, they find the core of the script and make the story beautiful. In French and Arabic with English subtitles. Grady Harp, March 06"
Perfect, Original, Touching and Relevant
Mame du Bois | Australia | 04/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Dealing frankly yet delicately with the topic of homosexuality in Algeria, this movie is a breath of fresh air. It is original and unique. Using a hand -held camera and filmed as though it is a documentary it is obvious that some parts are scripted. This doesn't detract but in fact adds to the organic narrative that develops through the film.

This movie is not about Gay sex, but is about the full human experience of Gay love. The desire to bond and be to be loved. It almost seems that the movie rejects the idea of anonymous gay sex although is does discuss it. Our 'hero' of the story, Karim seems more interested in finding his mate.

As another reviewer here noted, the story seems autobiographical for some of the characters - using their own names. The acting is incredible and they have a clear understanding of the issues at hand. The scene where Karim first meets Farid, Karim is clearly nervous about Farid's flirtations but also seems to like it. He can't help but blush. This gives a very real feel to the story. When Farid touches his arm, Karim pulls back, but then seems to move back. For any Gay man who has had the attention of a 'straight' man will instantly identify with this.

Thoroughly enjoyable and a welcome addition to Queer cinema. The deleted scenes are especially good. The last deleted scene is particularly touching."
A lot of bang for the buck and minute
Dane S. Claussen | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 02/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The previous reviewer who found the movie not worth the time & money, etc., must have a short attention span. The movie is only an hour and 10 minutes! I regularly wait an airports longer than that, and this movie has a lot more subtle punch to it than most hour-long TV shows do. I watched all of the additional features, which were obviously segments of the movie that had to be cut for some reason (financial?)--it certainly couldn't have been that the finished movie was too long for a theater audience!"