6.9/10
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19 user 34 critic

L'esquive (2003)

Krimo a 15 years old shy boy falls in love for Lídia who is his classmate.To be able to assume his love for her he decides to take a part in the play that was to be one of his friends.

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(scenario), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Osman Elkharraz ...
Krimo
...
Lydia
...
Frida
Nanou Benhamou ...
Nanou
Hafet Ben-Ahmed ...
Fathi
Aurélie Ganito ...
Magalie
Carole Franck ...
French Professor
Hajar Hamlili ...
Zina
Rachid Hami ...
Rachid
Meriem Serbah ...
Krimo's Mother (as Meryem Serbah)
Hanane Mazouz ...
Hanane
Sylvain Phan ...
Slam
...
Policier
Rosalie Symon ...
Policier
Patrick Kodjo Topou ...
Policier
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Storyline

In the slums of Paris, a group of students - primarily North African and Southeast Asian immigrants - are staging a class production of the Marivaux play "Le Jeu de l'Amour et du Hasard," about the inevitability of class distinctions. Lead actress Lydia (Sara Forestier) takes to the material, encouraging and bullying the other students to take the production seriously. Meanwhile, her friend Krimo (Osman Elkharraz) plays her love interest on stage and harbors real affection as well.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

student | class | friend | immigrant | boy | See All (126) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 January 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Esquiva  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,211, 4 September 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,620, 11 September 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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The movie is dedicated Slaheddine. See more »

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User Reviews

 
18th Century French Classic Effectively Transposed to Immigrant Kids Today
8 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Games of Love and Chance (L'Esquive)" is an involving experiment in giving classic French comedy of errors relevance to today, in a dramatic demonstration of "Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose" -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Writer/director Abdellatif Kechiche juxtaposes the titular 18th century work by Marivaux with junior high kids in a poor, inner city Arab immigrant neighborhood, for an effect that crosses Larry Clark's "Kids" with "Mad Hot Ballroom." Like any period farce, the real relationships are dizzyingly circular: A loves B who loves C who is in disguise with D. A threatens C, B changes places with D to pursue his suit and use Marivaux like Cyrano, C can't make up her mind, friends of B and C misunderstand everyone, and the course of true love doesn't run smooth.

While marred by wincingly heavy-handed intellectualizing on class social criticism by the literature teacher who is directing the kids in the play and a deus ex machina insertion of biased cops, the frank life and death-ness of adolescent romance strongly comes through in comparison to Marivaux's mannered floweriness, even as these kids communicate amongst each other with four letter obscenities, bluntly crude slang (that may not be too well represented in the English subtitles but I'm sure French subtitlers likewise have trouble with the patois in movies such as "Four Brothers"), heart-tugging looks of longing, painfully hurt tears, and, finally in frustration, physical action.

It is not clear if "the blonde" as she is referred to in the English subtitles (played by the excellent Sara Forestier, who seems to have been the only member of the cast with some previous experience before the cameras) is also from an immigrant family or Muslim, or if she just picked up use of a couple of Muslim catch phrases in her slang as to whether Kechiche is adding another layer of social commentary. Or she could just be part of the trend in French cinema to fixate on pouty young blonde temptresses, viz. "La Petite Lili," "À Tout de Suite (Right Now)," "Lila Says (Lila dit ça)."

This film has a lot of parallels with "Lila Says (Lila dit ça)," not just about sex and social setting, though it dealt with older kids, but also how literature can be an escapist outlet yet also a threat that brings hidden emotions to the fore.

The grim mise en scene makes wonderful use of a crowded, high rise neighborhood where the kids hang out chilled because they have little privacy at home, some fathers are in jail, their loving mothers try to keep tabs on them, and cell phones are their expensive lifelines.

While the film goes on a bit too long as scenes meander, probably because it isn't clear how much has been scripted and how much the kids are very effectively improvising particulars around a basic story line, their relationships are enthralling, both the romances and the friendships. Each teen actor creates an indelible and different character.

270 years since Marivaux and the human heart hasn't changed.


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