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Originally published October 14, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 14, 2005 at 12:08 PM

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Movie review

"Games of Love and Chance": Realistic love in Paris tenement

Watching Abdellatif Kechiche's "Games of Love and Chance," set in a Parisian housing project and dominated by tedious scenes of teenagers squabbling, is enough to make...

Watching Abdellatif Kechiche's "Games of Love and Chance," set in a Parisian housing project and dominated by tedious scenes of teenagers squabbling, is enough to make one feel like an overburdened social worker.

Still, this often oppressive piece of kitchen-sink realism is not without slow-to-brew insights and measurable craftsmanship. ("Games" won four Cesar Awards — the French Oscars.)

Movie review

Showtimes and trailer 2.5 stars

Games of Love and Chance," with Osman Elkharraz, Sara Forestier. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, from a screenplay by Kechiche and Ghalya Lacroix. Not rated; suitable for mature audiences (contains strong language, mild violence). 117 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Northwest Film Forum, through Thursday.

Krimo (Osman Elkharraz), a quiet, dreamy 15-year-old boy, is stirred from doldrums when his longtime friend Lydia (Sara Forestier) dons a costume gown for a school production of "The Game of Love and Chance," an 18th-century farce by Pierre Carlet de Camblain de Marivaux.

Watching Lydia rehearse the part of chambermaid Lisette, Krimo is stirred both by love and a rare sense of possibility. He bribes his way into the role of Lisette's would-be suitor, hoping to win both Lydia and a bit of glory. Krimo's ham-handedness with each results in anger and conflicts that escalate between his and Lydia's friends.

It all leads to muted tragedy for some and victory for others. Along the way, however, "Games" is mostly a monotonous din of kids trashing one another.

— Tom Keogh

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