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Lila Says (Unrated)

Release Date: June 24th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center and Embassy's New Metro Twin), by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
The Cast: Vahina Giocante,Mohammad Khouas, Lofti Chakri,Edmonde Franche
Directed by Ziad Doeuiri.
In French with English subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Chimo (Khouas), a young teenage boy and meets Lila (Giocante), a sexy promiscuous girl with whom he develops a sexual relationship.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:Vahina Giocante, who plays the sexy young temptress Lila gives an outstandingly raw and honest performance. Her scenes with Edmonde Franche are full of sexual chemistry and spark. The beautiful cinematography makes every shot of skin to be erotic rather than pornographic. There are not many surprising elements to the plot, though--everything that happens is expected except for one shockingly sexual scene that is a perfect way to introduce Lila. As good as the film looks, unfortunately, the character of Lila is underwritten to the extent that she is nothing more than a wild, outgoing girl. The dialogue does feel real, but the characters do not, so it is hard to really care about them. Besides sexual tension between the two characters, there is very little of other forms of tension that keep you on the edge of your seat. Nonetheless, the musical score is quite effective and there are enough beautiful shots that at least make the film aesthetically pleasing enough to hold your interest.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The idea of sexual awakening is explored throughout this coming-of-age film. What happens in this film is part of what Chimo includes in his college admissions essay. It is obvious that he has changed after meeting Lila. However, the real question is, what did he specifically learn from these experiences that makes him worth reading about or, in this case, watching. Unfortunately, these questions are not answered in any profound or insightful way. The last part of the film is quite sad and touching, but the film is a whole doesn't pack enough of an emotional punch because of the underwritten character of Lila.



THE BOTTOM LINE: Beautiful cinematography and a wonderful performance by Giocante helps to make this film barely easy to watch despite its lack of character development and very little insight into the lives of two young adults who are at a very emotionally complex stage in their life.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (2nd Run)

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