Blame It on Voltaire | Chicago Reader

Blame It on Voltaire

The French title—which translates as “Poetical Refugee”—more aptly describes this lackadaisical narrative about a hunky and sincere Tunisian immigrant to Paris (Sami Bouajila) who hooks up with two sexually enticing women: a statuesque single mother (Aure Atika) who agrees to an arranged marriage but walks out at the last minute and then a charming but unbalanced nymphomaniac (Elodie Bouchez from The Dreamlife of Angels) who follows him around the streets of Paris. This 2000 feature by Abdellatif Kechiche, an award winner at the Venice film festival, contains some strong character work, particularly from Bruno Lochet as the middle-aged ringleader of a group of derelicts and Bouchez as the urgent young castabout. The abrupt ending only underscores the fact that there wasn't much of a plot to begin with, but this offers an interesting look at street life in contemporary Paris. 130 min.

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