A beautifully made but resolutely downbeat portrait of two broken-hearted souls past their primes, "Change My Life" is a keenly played two-hander that worships a little too much at the altar of Our Lady of the Sensitive Outsiders. Melancholy pic qualifies for any lineup where good thesping and thoughtful lensing are appreciated.

A beautifully made but resolutely downbeat portrait of two broken-hearted souls past their primes, “Change My Life” is a keenly played two-hander that worships a little too much at the altar of Our Lady of the Sensitive Outsiders. Fanny Ardant and Roschdy Zem are aces as, respectively, an out-of-work actress floundering in Paris and an Algerian distance-runner unreconciled to his life as a transvestite prostitute. Melancholy pic qualifies for any lineup where good thesping and thoughtful lensing are appreciated.

When rattled Nina (Ardant) passes out in a park, jogger Sami (Zem) rescues her. Stomach pumped, Nina returns to thank her knight in sweaty armor and discovers he’s a drug-addicted streetwalker in a wig and fake boobs. Lonely pair makes a pact: She’ll return to the stage, and he’ll kick dope and train for the marathon. Helmer Liria Begeja — whose 1994 “Loin des barbares” offered a comparably strong female lead to Dominique Blanc — pulls off a haunting depiction of cross-dressing North African hookers in a nocturnal netherworld of cheap sex and cheaper sentiments. Sami Bouajila is terrific as a fellow male prostie.

Change My Life

France

Production

A Pan-Europeenne release of a Pan-Europeenne Prod., M6 Film Prod. production, with participation of CNC. (International sales: M6 Droits Audiovisuels, Paris.) Produced by Philippe Godeau. Directed by Liria Begeja. Screenplay, Begeja, Francois-Olivier Rousseau, Jerome Beaujour.

Crew

Camera (color), Laurent Machuel; editor, Luc Barnier; music, Cheb Mami; art director, Laurent Allaire; costume designer, Fabio Perrone. Reviewed at UGC Orient Express, Paris, Dec. 18, 2001. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Fanny Ardant, Roschdy Zem, Fanny Cottencon, Sami Bouajila, Olivier Cruveiller, Arie Elmaleh.
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