A story of love and desire: a jewel of sensuality [critique]

Leyla Bouzid sensually films the dawn of love between two young people, superbly embodied by Sami Outalbali and Zbeida Belhajamor.

The present film, Leyla Bouzid’s second feature film after I hardly open my eyes (2015), ended in a beautiful way the last Cannes Critics’ Week (60 spring this year). Its very title had the value of a promise: past, present and future. Here we follow the beginnings of a romantic relationship between Ahmed, a young man of 18 years of Algerian origin, and Farah, recently arrived in Paris from Tunis, to continue his studies of Letters. It is also on the benches of the university that these two meet. If he seems to repress his feelings in the name of awkward modesty, she lives more freely, placing a certain recklessness at the heart of everything. Farah notably introduces Ahmed to Arab erotic literature, shaking up his certainties a little more, to the point of creating an imbalance.

Through them, Leyla Bouzid explores with remarkable finesse the torments inherent in adolescence and the doubts they arouse. The social context is obviously crucial. As sure as we are the children of our parents, Ahmed has to deal with a family heritage made up of unspoken and frustrations. Son of uprooted Algerians living in the suburbs, his father is plunged into a certain silence which inevitably reflects on his son. Farah will therefore set about unlocking this impossible lover. The staging borrows from sensuality, films these moving bodies and accompanies their inner journey so that this love and this desire is expressed, finally detached from everything that could hold them prisoners.

By Leyla Bouzid. With Sami Outalbali, Zbeida Belhajamor, Diong- Keba Tacu … Duration: 1h42. Release September 1, 2021

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