‘Some Like It Veiled’ (‘Cherchez la femme’): Film Review

Writer-director Sou Abadi (‘SOS Tehran’) turns a argumentative amicable emanate into a extended French comedy.

As a pretension suggests, Some Like It Veiled — or Cherchez la femme in French — takes a cross-dressing pride of a Billy Wilder classical and updates it to a age of Islamic fundamentalism. It’s possibly a shining thought or a recipe for disaster, and in a hands of writer-director Sou Abadi, a film falls somewhere in between. Neither absurd nor quite hilarious, it tackles a hot-button theme (burqas have been publicly criminialized in France given 2011) with adequate counsel to equivocate ostensible too offensive, professing in a finish that adore and family will always kick out religion. 

Rising talent Felix Moati (Irreplaceable) stars as Armand, a learned son of Iranian immigrants who’s totally soft by Leila (pop star Camelia Jordana), an Arab lady from a banlieue enrolled with Armand in Paris’ prestigious Sciences Po university. The dual are set to spend a few months in New York interning during a United Nations, though those skeleton fast uncover when Leila’s brother, Mahmoud (William Lebghil), earnings from an extended outing to a Middle East as a full-blown Islamist full with beard, request beads and a enterprise to relieve his sister’s scurrilous Western ways.

Banned from saying Leila, who has been sequestered in a unit along with younger brother, Sinna (Carl Malapa), Armand hatches a thought to costume himself in a burqa so he can keep entrance over to visit. (Leila’s relatives are conveniently deceased, withdrawal Mahmoud a elder in charge.) Plenty of hijinks ensue, with Armand forced to take on a high-pitched voice and investigate a Koran in sequence to remonstrate everybody he’s Leila’s righteous Muslim tutor. In fact, his devise works so good that a unfortunate Mahmoud winds adult descending for Armand’s hijab-wearing change ego.

Structured like a standard French farce, with a claim quid pro quos and overcooked slapstick, Veiled handles a accepted unfolding with relations care, divulgence a romantic undercurrents that expostulate Mahmoud to fundamentalist additional and his sister to acquit herself from his clutches. There’s never any doubt as to where a film’s allegiances lie, nonetheless while it portrays French Islamists — including Mahmoud’s thuggish friends from a hood, all of whom have radicalized as good — as a garland of knuckleheads, it also shows that, low down, they are mostly cooperative people.   

Abadi (SOS Tehran), who was innate in Iran though changed to France when she was 15, has a lessons of Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 series behind her to diffuse any idea that impassioned Islam can be a good thing for democracy and especially, women. She conveys this not usually by Leila’s onslaught to obtain leisure from her determined brother, though also by Armand’s banished Iranian mom (Franco-Algerian singer Anne Alvaro) who, in nonetheless another quid pro quo, believes for a while that her son has indeed converted — something that scarcely gives her a heart attack.

Subtlety has frequency been a gift of mainstream French comedies, and while some of a gags here unequivocally seem hackneyed (Armand gets his burqa held in a automobile door; Armand skateboards in his burqa…all that’s blank is Armand on a beach in a burkini) a fact that Abadi depicts her characters with a few shades of amiability prevents her film from apropos a one-joke event catering exclusively to France’s physical majority. On a other hand, a executive doesn’t make a ton of bid to uncover because banlieue boys like Mahmoud and his buddies spin to fundamentalism in a nation they feel has expel them aside, even if amicable issues are mentioned a few times early on.

Moati, who’s arrange of a paler Gallic chronicle of Jesse Eisenberg, does what he can in a purpose that asks us to postpone a dishonesty for approach too prolonged while everybody fails to see by his rather improbable disguise. And nonetheless Armand is evidently a centerpiece of a story, Lebghil (Love during First Fight) is given many some-more to work with as a uneasy and confused Mahmoud. He eventually comes opposite as a film’s many endearing character: a waste working-class child who embraces impassioned Islam, while all he unequivocally needs is some impassioned TLC.

Production companies: The Film, France 2 Cinema, Mars Films
Cast: Felix Moati, Camelia Jordana, William Lebghil, Anne Alvaro, Carl Malapa
Director-screenwriter: Sou Abadi
Producer: Michael Gentile
Director of photography: Yves Angelo
Production designer: Denis Gautelier
Costume designer: Justine Pearce
Music: Jerome Rebotier
Editor: Virginie Bruant
Casting: Aurelie Guichard
Sales: Films Distribution

In French, Arabic
88 minutes