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Samba

From the directors of 'Intouchables.' "A milestone in big-budget French cinema, 'Samba' leverages Omar Sy's appeal to bring immigration struggles into the mainstream." - Variety

“Following the runaway success of The Intouchables, French writing-directing duo Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache return with Samba; a more-serious-than-not cross-cultural romance starring Omar Sy as a Senegalese dishwasher with feelings for the immigration caseworker (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who could be his last chance at staying in Paris. Using the team’s populist sensibility for good, Samba offers earnest progressive messaging in a broadly appealing package.

“Given France’s widespread concern with immigration and integration, Samba aims to address the underlying racism. Toledano and Nakache’s unabashedly sentimental script invites audiences to sympathize with the sort of character they see everyday, but seldom stop to interact with. Samba is a strong, complex personality working in proximity to his dream — to become a chef — via an off-the-books job in a Paris restaurant. He’s resourceful enough to have avoided the authorities for nearly 10 years, but now that he’s been busted, his entire existence seems to be in jeopardy.

“Enter Alice, a mousy white woman assigned to his case. Alice is new to the job and not yet jaded enough to ignore the human being sitting across the table. Against the advice of her more thick-skinned co-worker, she starts to care about Samba, taking his case personally.

Samba divides its time between these two characters, flirting with the possibility of romance, while recognizing that such things are typically trickier than the movies make them out to be. Samba’s situation is complicated by a broken promise to a friend he met in lockup, when his selfless attempt to track down the guy’s lost g.f. leads to a shameful one-night stand. Alice has her own barrel of issues. Clearly, the most obvious solution to their problems would be for the two characters to couple up and get married, but the pic isn’t so predictable. Toledano and Nakache seem determined to avoid such cliches.

“Toledano and Nakache have made the relatively radical decision to treat this subject as the foundation for a highly polished, widely appealing big-budget French movie. The pic cements Sy’s position as one of France’s most magnetic screen personalities.” - Variety

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