(French and Arabic dialogue)
Running on instinct and chutzpah, self-taught debut helmer Zaida Ghorab-Volta has fashioned a slightly rocky but engaging slice of life in “Remember Me.” A sort of Franco-Algerian “Sisters McMullen” in its piecemeal production and range of concerns, pic shows first-generation offspring of Algerian immigrants as they straddle two strong cultures, with sometimes pretentious, sometimes amusing results.
Yet another entry in the spate of Gallic pics about young people raised in the housing projects outside Paris, this one will be limited by its brief running time to fests and tube, but as a director, Ghorab-Volta (herself raised in the projects) bears watching.
Ghorab-Volta plays Mimouna, an energetic but stymied twentysomething living with her tyrannical father and tradition-minded mom. A perky younger sister and a sardonic brother have no use for Algeria, but Mimouna, despite her liberated Western ways, feels a connection to the customs of her relatives and ancestors.
Come summer, Mimouna, who says things like “There’s got to be a better way to live” rather too often, decides to take a breather in the old country with her parents. Convincingly re-creating an Algerian village residence on location near Paris, pic contrasts tradition-bound setting with urban routine. Each boasts its own brand of reduced options for women.
Lensing is effective, players OK to good, with special praise for Mimouna’s siblings.