5 July 2007 | acw202
adolescent contemporary fantasy
Hallucinogenic alienation and left-wing schmaltz during a trek on ancient Christian pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, shrine of Santiago Matamoros - Saint James the Moor-Killer. One plot line revolves around two young men of Arabic descent who speak French and their relationship with their traveling companions. These people are indigenous French equally étranger to Christianity or at any rate very open-minded indeed. Another theme concerns three older siblings who must go on this particular pilgrimage in order to collect an inheritance. One of these is a state-supported alcoholic who receives no ascertainable spiritual or social benefit from the effort. Another is an uptight conservative sans social conscience who magically awakens to his plight through no other means than simply suffering a bit of discomfort and outward bound-type group bonding. The third is a dedicated socialist teacher well versed in Christian-baiting. At a later date she is apparently ready to "screw the rich" (as discussed earlier in a tender moment) via Eurabic alliances bolstered by her Christian mother's money. The movie is interspersed with inchoate dream sequences meant to rival Christian grandeur but merely succeeds in reminding this viewer of the increasingly banal nihilism of European elites. Clever plot full of modernist irony, beautiful scenery of France and Spain, and multicultural sentimentality only residents of the wealthier Parisian arrondissements could love.