Owen Gleiberman
July 15, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Lila Says

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
89 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/24/05
performer
Vahina Giocante, Mohammed Khouas
director
Ziad Doueiri
distributor
Samuel Goldwyn Films
author
Ziad Doueiri, Mark Lawrence, Joelle Touma
genre
Foreign Language, Drama

We gave it a B+

Lila, played by Vahina Giocante, who resembles a sexed-up young Emma Thompson, is a teasing, 16-year-old blond baby doll with a gleam of perception beyond her years. In Lila Says, she fixates on Chimo (Mohammed Khouas), a dreamy young Arab, and attempts to seduce him by turning on the slut talk. Ziad Doueiri’s unabashedly erotic cross-cultural love story is set in Marseilles, and much of it consists of Lila spinning out her reveries — of orgiastic sex, of doing amateur porn films for the thrill of it. Chimo, too chivalrous to take advantage of her, thinks that Lila is ”better” than the naughty-vixen role she has chosen to play. But is that his grace or his puritanism? Both, it turns out, which is why it is also his tragedy.

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