Salut Cousin!

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

Light and very slight, French-Algerian director Merzak Allouache's follow-up to 1994's BAB EL OUED CITY is a cheerful but only intermittently engaging look at the lives of Algerian-born Parisians. Alilo (Gad Elmaleh) is in "the bizness" -- that is, the business of traveling to Paris and smuggling out salable goods unavailable in his native Algiers. On this...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Light and very slight, French-Algerian director Merzak Allouache's follow-up to 1994's BAB EL OUED CITY is a cheerful but only intermittently engaging look at the lives of Algerian-born Parisians. Alilo (Gad Elmaleh) is in "the bizness" -- that is, the

business of traveling to Paris and smuggling out salable goods unavailable in his native Algiers. On this trip, however, he loses the address of his latest pick-up. So he spends five days touring the new, multi-culti Paris with his cousin Mok (Mess Hattou), an aspiring rap singer who's hit upon

the novel idea of setting La Fontaine's animal poems to a funky beat. Allouche's film is fluffy stuff even by the standards of the cinema beur ("Arab" cinema), a genre that works to overturn negative stereotypes of North Africans living in France, but has been criticized for downplaying

tough issues, such as racism, and for being too mainstream. Skinheads do put in a brief appearance here, but they're quickly dispatched by the residents of Mok's multiethnic and improbably integrated neighborhood. There's some talk of homesickness and sorrow about their embattled homeland, but on

the whole, things are really quite comfy for these outsiders. It's all too much like one of La Fontaine's simplistic fables -- the bumpkin country mouse comes to visit his cousin, the sophisticated city mouse -- with a bit of gratuitous sex and karoake tossed to keep things from getting too

heavy.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Light and very slight, French-Algerian director Merzak Allouache's follow-up to 1994's BAB EL OUED CITY is a cheerful but only intermittently engaging look at the lives of Algerian-born Parisians. Alilo (Gad Elmaleh) is in "the bizness" -- that is, the bu… (more)

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