Rengaine (Hold Back)

It looks like Rachid Djaïdani, writer and director of Rengaine is a directing novice (in the best way) and that this grittily filmed feature didn’t take nine years to put together. An updated, realistic, Francofied Romeo and Juliet sees Sabrina and Dorcy’s intended marriage met with rejection from both of their families. A current issue in French society where all cultures mingle freely, yet the importance placed on traditional marriage overrides friendships, individual happiness and lovers. The subject title is enticing and I watched in the hope Rengaine would provide some narrative to Arab-Black relations in France and address the hypocrisies within each culture. Despite the potential the film subject had, the movie itself left me feeling dissatisfied. Sabrina, the sister of 40 brothers wished to initially keep the true identity of Dorcy a secret; however the eldest of the clan, Sleiman, became obsessed with tracking down her fiancée and putting an end to the wedding. He himself, committing a crime against culture all the while, dating a Jewish woman. If the film is viewed as a fly on the wall observation of ethnic relations and traditions in France then it suffices, but if searching for a thought-provoking exploration to the root of these prejudices and how little they are challenged on a day to day basis, a lot is left to be desired. The characters themselves lacked any particular depth and I failed to fully connect with any of them. Sparky humour and an original piece, despite previously typifying it at a Romeo and Julette story. Suitable for those interested in French Arab/African culture with a penchant for documentary style films.



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