An angel – right in the middle of a council housing estate near Paris. At least that’s what 15-year-old Abdelkrim, otherwise known as “Krimo”, feels when he first catches sight of his classmate, Lydia, passionately absorbed in her recitation of Marivaux’s verse. Their class are to enact this great eighteenth-century bard’s love story, “A Game of Love and Chance” at an upcoming school performance.
Krimo, who normally spends his spare time hanging out with his mates, falls in love with Lydia on the spot. The only snag is, Krimo doesn’t talk much, and certainly not about his feelings; he’s far too scared of being made to look ridiculous. Then he has an idea: Krimo persuades his friend, Rachid, who is to play Lydia’s counterpart on stage, to let him play the role of Harlequin. This way, Krimo figures, he can let Marivaux do the talking! However, Krimo’s clever manoeuvre unexpectedly proves to be anything but plain sailing and it transpires that Harlequin’s text is way above his head. Will he ever find the right words – his own words - to tell Lydia how he feels?
Abdellatif Kechiche shot his film on original locations using amateur actors. In his own words: “These suburbs are so stigmatised that it seemed almost revolutionary to set a story here that wasn’t about drugs, girls shrouded in veils and arranged marriages. My aim was to find out how the people who live here talk about love and the theatre. I wanted to convey a entirely different, more personal perspective.”
by Abdellatif Kechiche
with Osman Elkharraz, Sara Forestier, Sabrina Ouazani, Nanou Benahmou
France 2003 117’

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