Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1997
Country: France/Belgium/Switzerland
Run Time: 85 minutes

Fundamentalist minister opposes the pop songs and dance crazes sweeping town. Determined young people defy his intolerance, celebrating life and the freedom to rock out. "Footloose" again? Wrong! A North African immigrant quarter on the outskirts of Paris is the stage for Mahmoud Zemmouri's lively and pointed comedy, set in the lower rungs of French-Arab society, where an opportunistic little Napoleon named Slimane finds militant Islam his key to the rackets. Through a Machiaevellian mix of fiery preaching and simple thuggery, Slimane's mosque mob keeps a lid on violent crime and disorder in the 'hood, efforts much appreciated and rewarded by a district mayor up for re-election. But another force grows in the alleys and tenements, luring residents away from Slimane's hypocrisy. It's ra? music, a catchy blend of traditional Arab chant and modern rhythm and rap. Young people formerly embroiled in gangs form musical groups and arrange concerts rather than riots. With real-life ra? stars Khaled and Cheb Mami in main roles, you can drink up 100% ARABICA as a savory taste of world beat, snapshots of a Paris that tourists never see, and the eternal theme of liberty vs. censorship, probably as old as music itself. (In French and Arabic with English subtitles)

Mahmoud Zemmouri, Marie-Laurence Attias

Mahmoud Zemmouri

Mahmoud Zemmouri

No?l Very, Jean-Claude Vicquery

Youcef Tobni

Principal Cast
Khaled, Mouss, Cheb Mami, Youssef Diawara, Patrice Thibaud, Najim Laouriga, Rachel Khalil, Farid Fedjer

Film Contact
Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today