The Imperialists Are Still Alive! (2011)
A successful visual artist working in post-9/11 Manhattan, Asya (Elodie Bouchez) lives the life of the hip and glamorous, replete with exclusive art parties, supermodels, and stretch limousines while she carefully follows the situation in the Middle East on television. Asya learns that her childhood friend, Faisal, has disappeared-the victim of a purported CIA abduction. That same night, she meets Javier (Jose Maria de Tavira), a sexy Mexican PhD student, and romance blossoms. Javier finds Asya's conspiracy theories overly paranoid-but nothing in Asya's world is as it seems. Asya's life is reflective of the themes of cultural fusion, and the complications and humor that arise simultaneously out of everyday life. Zeina Durra's atmospheric debut feature, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival is an alluring and intelligent look at the way the war on terror seeps into the texture of everyday American life. Gorgeous 16 mm grain imbues the film with an anachronistic feel that interestingly evokes times past. THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE! is an exceptional work heralding the arrival of Durra as an exciting new directorial talent. -- (C) IFC Films … More
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Critic Reviews for The Imperialists Are Still Alive!
Nothing is resolved in the film, but Bouchez and De Tavira are exceptionally paired, and attuned to Durra's easygoing intellectual eros shorn of dramatics.
The Imperialists Are Still Alive! is an admirable film in many ways as its young writer-director, Zeina Durra, explores a subculture right before our eyes that remains mostly unseen.
Too concerned with being cool to work up much in the way of political outrage, much less narrative drive.
A multicultural vision of urbanity coalesces that is very different from that of a typical movie of impoverished immigrants trying to assimilate in an outer borough.
The film is ultimately more interesting than engaging; Durra doesn't yet have a grasp of the simultaneous warmth and needle-sharp satirical sense that infuse Stillman's films.
Occasionally, Durra loses her nerve and spells out her intentions, but she's at her best when both her commentary and her comedy are nearly imperceptible.
But for all it's faults in title, plotting and editing, The Imperialists Are Still Alive! contains the promise of a distinct female voice in independent cinema.
With The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, writer-director Zeina Durra has made a quirkily appealing film which intriguingly manages to feel both slight and authentically weighty at the same time.
If it accomplishes one thing, it is that Durra shows herself to be an exciting young director. She has a sense of style and a sense of character. And her film has a lot of character because of it.
The first-time director's refreshingly credible portrait of a boho character with Middle Eastern origins rectifies the aforementioned canonical gap in a witty, naturalistic generational snapshot.
Audience Reviews for The Imperialists Are Still Alive!
Another art film I was able to see at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Cinematheque. I knew nothing about it beforehand besides the blurb printed in the Cinematheque's calendar, which said it was inspired by the films of Whit Stillman. And that didn't help me out because I am not familiar with his films. Anyways, I gave it a shot and found it funny at times. Usually funny in the way that reality shows are funny because it is awkward watching spoiled self-important types show off how spoiled and self-important they are. There is a heart buried under the story of these glamorous hipster types though too. Elodie Bouchez as Asya is an artist born in France whose parents are of Middle Eastern decent. She learns that an ex-boyfriend was possibly abducted or at least has been prevented from leaving the Middle East when a military coup occurs. In a post-9/11 world the CIA suspects nearly everyone of Middle Eastern decent of potential terrorism. The ex-boyfriend's brother Karim still lives near Asya in Manhattan and is protective toward her. Asya's friend Tatiana was engaged to marry the ex-boyfriend very soon. Will he survive? Will he make it home to America? While all this is worrying Asya she goes about her life. After an art show including some of her work, she meets Javier, played by Jose Maria de Tavira, a Mexican law student. As they become closer, their circle of friends (and humorously whoever else wants to latch on to their young ritzy life) continue to go clubbing where there is always one friend too drunk to get home or to the next bar alone. The chemistry between Elodie and Jose is strong as their relationship develops. They laugh when they go on a date to a dance recital, just the two of them, because the dance is impossibly pretentious, but they seem unaware that their lifestyle is often just as pretentious. The pace and story challenge expectations in a good way, but I didn't always find it very meaningful.More
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