Time Out says
Tue Jan 3 2006Tired of simply getting by in Paris, Zano (Romain Duris) suddenly suggests to his lover Naïma (Lubna Azabal) that, lack of cash notwithstanding, they travel across France and Spain to Algeria, whence his family hailed. Thus begins an odyssey of mutual discovery, betrayal and forgiveness, a journey of body and soul that’s marked by the heady emotions aroused by music, fateful encounters, liberation and, finally, rediscovered roots.
Tony Gatlif remains the best known of Romany filmmakers,though it must be said that his track record is erratic, ranging from gems like ‘Les Princes’ and ‘Latcho Drom’ to duds like ‘Children of the Stork’. This slightly ramshackle film from 2004 about the needs, desires and experiences of the north African diaspora is neither masterpiece nor mess; while it certainly improves on his last few movies, there’s still rather too much larking about by the lead duo in the early scenes. (Be advised that Duris – who got his break in Gatlif’s ‘Gadjo Dilo’ – is considerably less engaging here than in ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’.) Once the very emphatically sensuous couple have crossed to Africa, however, a distinct darkening of tone makes for an altogether more compelling film; most notably, a shamanistic trance scene, which Gatlif audaciously but wisely allows to run, run and run, provides an exhilarating climax. Indeed, as in all his best work, the music – which embraces techno, Andalusian flamenco and the aforementioned Sufi get-together – is both magnificent in itself and crucial to the narrative.
Fri Jan 6, 2006