Lila Says | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Like Sally Potter's Yes, this neatly drawn French drama looks at a politically charged romance between a Western woman and an Arab man, though it's more youthful, more erotic, and a lot less pretentious. A quiet Moroccan teenager in a Parisian ghetto (Mohammed Khouas) is hopelessly ensnared by Lila (Vahina Giocante), a blond stunner whose bold come-ons leave him weak with lust. His desire is complicated by the leering of his Arab buddies, hers by the lesbian advances of her legal guardian, but their mutual attraction is so powerful it deepens into real love even as it isolates them from everyone else. Both lead actors are wonderful, and director Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut) artfully addresses the cultural and even spiritual dimensions of the story without losing sight of the lovers' tenderness and confusion. In French with subtitles. 89 min. Landmark's Century Centre.

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