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Villa Jasmin is really two movies. One is about Serge Boccara (Clément Sibony), who mopes around Tunis with his pregnant fiancée, Jeanne, looking for clues about his parents, who died when he was 9. The other movie is a period piece about his parents, Serge (Arnaud Giovaninetti) and Odette (Elsa Mollien). Serge père was a journalist who got on the wrong side of the Vichy government during the occupation (it didn’t exactly help that he was a Jew and a socialist). As the latter story gets more involved, all sorts of narrative walls crumble: Serge père describes his internment in Saxenhausen to the camera, after which Serge fils sits down and comforts him. Thing is, without the younger Serge kicking around Tunis, whining that his macaroni doesn’t have enough harissa and driving Jeanne nuts (“What you’re seeking doesn’t exist,” she chides him at one point), the movie would be more interesting; the only possible argument for Serge fils’story is a heart-melting scene with his former maid (a luminous Fatma Ben Saidane). Otherwise, not enough harissa.
Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Also at 9:15 p.m. on Friday, April 24. Both showings at Regal Gallery Place. Director Férid Boughedir will be present.