An industrial pallet-repair operation on the outskirts of Paris becomes a microcosm of Muslim immigrant hopes and tensions in Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche's "Adhen."

An industrial pallet-repair operation on the outskirts of Paris becomes a microcosm of Muslim immigrant hopes and tensions in Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche’s “Adhen.” Shifting from a gentle reverie on the joys of Islam to the strain of a worker/boss conflict, pic seems created more to take advantage of the visually arresting space than to further storytelling ideas. More structured but less dramatized than helmer’s “Back Home,” “Adhen” will leave most auds wondering at the sense of amorphousness.

Recurring shots of large stacks of brightly painted red pallets act as ribs on which the action is meant to stick, though the intriguing spaces they create become ends in themselves. Mao (helmer Ameur-Zaimeche) appears to be a strict but solicitous employer to Muslim immigrants who are grateful for the mosque he builds on the premises. Clashes develop when he chooses the imam (Larbi Zekkour) without consultation, creating further friction with his mechanics (Salim Ameur-Zaimeche, Abel Jafri), who prefer not-too-bright recent convert Titi (Christian Milia-Darmezin). As in previous works, Ameur-Zaimeche throws in an incongruous scene, here involving a nutria, as an ice-breaker. Visuals and sound are carefully calibrated and overall look is handsome.

Adhen

France

Production

A Sophie Dulac Distribution release (in France) of a Sarrazink Prods. production. (International sales: Umedia, Montreuil, France.) Produced by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche. Directed by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche. Screenplay by Ameur-Zaimeche, Louise Thermes.

Crew

Camera (color), Irina Lubtchansky; editor, Nicolas Bancilhon; music, Sylvain Rifflet; production designers, Francois Musquet, Patrick Horel. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 16, 2008. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche, Salim Ameur-Zaimeche, Abel Jafri, Sylvain Roume, Christian Milia-Darmezin, Larbi Zekkour, Mamadou Koita, Mamadou Kebe.

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