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LILA SAYS

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In a grubby old neighborhood of Marseille, now home to various immigrants, two teen-agers enact an erotic pas de deux with consequences both devastating and liberating. Chimo (Mohammed Khouas), of Arab descent and sensitive, is boldly approached by Lila (Vahina Giocante), a blonde angel who to Chimo's astonishment speaks frankly to him about her sexuality and desires. They meet secretly -- avoiding Chimo's crass buddies and their own disapproving families. Their relationship thrives on its forbidden quality; indeed, despite the pornographic nature of Lila's tales, the two rarely touch, and each seems buoyed by the hyper-romantic nature of their illicit yet innocent behavior. Lebanese-born filmmaker Ziad Doueri, who has done camera work for Quentin Tarantino, adapted the 1996 novel of the same name, and has succeeded here in creating a quiet, off-beat coming-of-age story that depicts but never exploits the sensuality of its teen-age protagonists. In French, with subtitles. (AH)

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