After peaking with My Favorite Season (1993), Wild Reeds (1994), and Thieves (1996), French director Andre Techine went into decline with Alice and Martin (1998), Far (2001), and Strayed (2003), often biting off more than he could chew. This 2004 feature also overreaches, especially in its metaphorical moments (a mud slide at a construction site that frames the action), but it's his strongest film since Thieves, a characteristic effort to juxtapose various cultures, generations, and sexualities as people converge and diverge in Tangier. Volatile and sometimes daring performances by Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Gilbert Melki, Malik Zidi, and Lubna Azabal (as twins) contribute to the highly charged and novelistic experience. In French with subtitles. 90 min. Music Box.

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