Film

Film

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A coy sexual-awakening vignette acquires home-movie texture and sociological flavor in Rémi Lange’s The Road to Love. For reasons as yet unclear to him and his girlfriend, French Algerian student Karim (Karim Tarek) is compelled to undertake a documentary study on “homosexuality in the Maghreb.” He directs his camcorder and a series of ostensibly flirtatious questions at the gay young North African men who’ve replied to his ad hoping to score, rebuffing them all except airline steward Farid (Riyad Echahi), with whom he settles into an elaborate courtship ritual based on coded denials and shameless, mutual cockteasing. Karim’s girlfriend leaves after discovering Farid’s telltale inscription in a Jean Genet volume, allowing the boys to set off on a travelogue of cultural and personal discovery. Hopping from Paris to Amsterdam to Marrakech, the movie ponders the historic role of same-sex relationships in Islamic societies, and culminates in a pilgrimage to Genet’s tomb—a sweetly respectful gravestomp, to be sure, though one suspects the almost apologetic demureness of the central relationship would have irked him to no end.

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