In Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas’ portrait of an artist as a young man, migration, love, art, and family variously take centre stage. Young Parisian Labidi declares that he wants to write his first novel for himself, not for his Tunisian-immigrant mother who runs a coffee shop in Lyon and patiently, yet eagerly, awaits word of their son’s literary success. He struggles to find representation and inspiration while chatting up actress Elisa outside a coffee shop. After some frustrating and navel-gazing romantic vacillations (is it a French film without such romantic vacillations?) he, Elisa, and roommate Alekseï hatch semi-legal plans to raise money to live, and then the family comes sweeping back to the fore, causing a re-evaluation that lifts the film to a genuinely heart-warming conclusion. Throughout, Amine Berrada’s cinematography shoots a modern, unglamorous Paris with classic stylings, finding new sides to the city as Labidi searches for personal identity and artistic voice.

Much happens in The World Among Us (Le Monde Après Nous), and not all serves the search for and impossibility of individual identity at the film’s core. Much of the opening antics – notably around the relationship – serves to alienate audiences from Labidi rather than draw us in through a shallow, slightly unsympathetic approach, and unfortunately the script is not strong enough to lay the groundwork for the eventual reckoning. However, the strong performances – notably from Aurélien Gabrielli as Labidi and Saadia Bentaïeb as his mother – are given space to breathe and shine in this final act, ending the tale with grace, hope, and sensitivity.

The World After Us treads familiar ground and feels less than the sum of its parts – notably when its New Wave stylings throw it against classics of the genre. By the time the credits roll, however, its heart proves in the right place.



CAST: Aurélien Gabrielli, Louise Chevillotte, Saadia Bentaïeb, Jacques Nolot, Léon Cunha Da Costa, Mikaël Chirinian, Hyacinthe Blanc, Noémie Schmidt, Isabelle Prim, Grégoire Lagrange

DIRECTOR: Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas

WRITER: Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas

SYNOPSIS: A young Parisian writer searches for love, inspiration, and a place in his corner of the world.