Ma Révolution (My Revolution)
The empty cobbled streets of Paris make for the perfect setting for the strong themes of childhood innocence and generational differences in My Revolution. Director Ramzi Ben Sliman’s debut film has its world premiere at the Berlinale in the Generation section.
Populated by fantastic visuals, including running tracking shots and intermittent pulled soft-focus camera work, My Revolution embodies the carefree essence of childhood antics.
It follows the ascent of ostracised teen Marwaan (Samuel Vincent) as he uses his Tunisian routes to absorb the mystery and intrigue of a young revolutionist fighting for the Arab Spring. His motives however are far from the ideals of his parents, as he fights to capture the attention of a girl in his class, Syngrid (Anamaria Vartolomei), rather than reconcile himself with his much neglected roots. The juxtaposition of setting the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia against the “revolution” of a boy moving into adolescence makes for a playful watch, inclusive to both youth and adults – much like the revolution it is based on.
Initially following the antics of Marwaan and his whimsical friend Felix (Lucien Le Guern) enables a heavy topic to remain engaging by exploring it with amusing nostalgia. But Sliman, along with co-writers Thomas Cailley (Love at First Fight) and Nathalie Saugeon fail to fully develop the sharp cultural and generational observations seen in the first half of the film. The finale offers a rather anaemic finish with the family moving to Tunisia to join the Jasmine Revolution. Here, the focus remains on a love sick Marwaan’s loss without delving into the experiences of a Parisian teen in Tunisia and the effect embracing the “homeland” may have on his adolescent revolution.
The film has all the components to make it a hit, with a budget to film in two countries (Paris and Tunisia). Casting director Francois Guignard balances the strong talent of Vartolomei (nominated for a Lumiere award for most promising young actress 2012) with the fresh naturalism of first-timers Vincent and Le Guern, making for an endearing combination. All this is supported by a jazz soundtrack from composer Julien Lourau that manages to encompass both Parisian and Arabic sounds in one track. The plot just fails to fulfil the promise.
Still, as a directing debut My Revolution is a feel-good tale of love, youth and teen angst.
Ma Révolution (My Revolution) does not have a UK release date yet.
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