Produced by Mahmoud Zemmouri
With actors Khaled, Cheb Mami, Mouss, Najim Laouariga, Fard Fedjer, Youssef Diawara, Patrice Thibaud, Mohamed Camara
available on DVD in the US and France
Set in a rent-controlled Paris suburb populated entirely by North Africans, this comedy of music and cross-culturalism centers on a battle waged between the neighborhood youth, who are seeking a way in which to integrate their native cultures with French ways, and the fundamentalist Muslim faction who insist that separatism and staunch adherence to their faith is the only way to live. Rachid and Krimo (played by popular Algerian Rai singers Khaled and Cheb Mami) are the leaders of Rap Oriental, a pop band that combines Rai music with rap/hip-hop. Their radical music gets the two in trouble with the local leader Slimane, a hypocritical bigot who makes money by strong-arming area merchants. Slimane proclaims that Islam, not music, is what modern youth need to stay out of trouble. The mayor supports him and this has a divisive effect on the band. A comedy with a satirical edge that takes many swipes at religious fundamentalism, the film has earned director Mahmoud Zemmouri, who has lived in Paris for 15 years, death threats from Islamic extremists.