la faute a voltaire is a fascinat-ing, tough-minded look at the world of marginally legal Arab immigrants in Paris. Sami Bouajila (Samir in The Siege) plays Jallel, who comes to Paris to make money for his family in Morocco only to find that without the right papers it's hard to make more than just enough to subsist on. This is a very striking directorial debut, with very assured handling of the actors and mercilessly tight framing on the characters. There's nothing in the film that feels typical or clichéd, with the possible exception of Elodie Bouchez's Lucie, who's like Laura San Giacomo playing a crack whore. Recommended.
LA FAUTE a VOLTAIRE D: Abdellatif Kechiche, w/ Sami Bouajila, Elodie Bouchez. Saturday (April 6), 2:30 pm. Rating: NNNN