Recapping… From France-based Algerian/Sudanese filmmaker Rachid Djaidani comes Rengaine (Hold Back), a feature length drama that premiered in the Directors Fortnight and the International Critics Week sections, at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Described as a “Paris-set twist on Romeo and Juliet,” Hold Back stars Slimane Dazi as Slimane, the eldest of 40 Arab Muslim brothers to Sabrina (Sabrina Hamida), a young North African woman. Slimane is disgusted by the rumors of his sister’s engagement to a Black Christian French man named Dorcy – played by French actor Stephane Soo Mongo. Naturally, conflict ensues as Slimane begins a frantic search for his sister in Paris.
Here’s the full synopsis:
In present-day Paris, Sabrina (Sabrina Hamida), a young North African woman, falls in love with Dorcy (Stéphane Soo Mongo), a black Christian trying to make ends meet as an actor. They plan to get married, but when rumour gets out about their engagement, Slimane (Slimane Dazi), the eldest of Sabrina’s 40 brothers, is disgusted that his Arab Muslim sister would consider such a union. He is determined that Sabrina should stay faithful to familial and community traditions, and traipses the city in search of her. From this starting point, the first full-length feature from French novelist and actor Rachid Djaïdani develops into a provocative, freewheeling analysis of attitudes to race and religion in modern-day France that’s pertinent and relevant beyond the country. Presented in an appealingly raw style that nods to John Cassavetes, Hold Back is fearless, inventive filmmaking featuring frequent moments that surprise and disarm.
The film, which took 9 long years to make, has been selected to screen at the New Directors/New Films Festival, and at Rotterdam this year.
It’s also been nominated in the Best First Film category, at the César Awards – the French equivalent to the Academy Awards – this year.
An English-subtited trailer for the film has finally surfaced, and it’s embedded below (previously, the only trailer available was in French and not subtitled). Underneath, you’ll find several stills and the film’s poster.