Lila Says (Lila Dit Ca) (review)

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It’s sort of Romeo & Juliet, but with the same kind of urgency the story of star-crossed lovers must have had for the Bard’s first audience: Chimo (Mohammed Khouas) is a poor minority lad in Marseilles; Lila (Vahina Giocante) is an adolescent goddess, blonde and teasing; their teenage romance, alive with raw, unabashed lust, transforms both of them in ways neither expects. The fact that he is Muslim lends the film a new desperation in the wake of the horrendous rioting that has spread through France recently — there’s a surprising and unplanned soupcon of poignancy that makes the film feel almost impossibly modern, like we haven’t yet caught up to its world yet. But the beautiful performances by its young stars, which sing with aching pain and desire, are classic: truly, this story is universal and timeless.

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