You Resemble Me


In 2015, Paris fell victim to the worst terrorist attacks on its land, which saw 130 people killed and 494 wounded.

The co-ordinated attacks were committed by the Islamic State militant group. This provocative film is the directorial debut from Egyptian-American Dina Amer, which follows the life of a young Arab woman in Paris, in search of some meaning in her life.

boom reviews You Resemble Me
So you're saying that we both need to wear hats or not?!

Although two years between them, there’s a deep connection between sisters Hasna (Lorenza Grimaudo) and Mariam (Ilonna Grimaudo) that almost seems as if they could be twins.

They have to be close however, considering their turbulent home life, that has seen them run away numerous occasions, and having them both put in the system.

Now older, Hasna (Sabrina Quazani) is still spinning out of control, still lacking any sense of belonging that she would dearly love.

She believes she finally finds it, when she gets in touch with her cousin who has a presence online that is certainly picking up traction, with a lifestyle that Hasna finds herself drawn too. But is it really the thing she’s looking for?

boom reviews You Resemble Me
They just don't pay me enough in croissants to put these wanted posters up.

For the first part of this remarkable film, based on a true story, it comes across as a film about two sisters torn apart by unfortunate circumstances. And to a certain extent, it is just that. But what it also develops into is an essay on identity and what it takes to belong somewhere.

Hasna, a young Arab woman in the French capital, literally loses a part of her when she is separated from her sister, who blames her for their separation, and decides to not stay in contact with her anymore. This sees Hasna go down a very dark path, one that she hopes will end in one thing, her happiness, as she prepares herself to do anything for it.

It’s a striking debut from Amer, who also counts being a journalist as one of her professions, and it shows. In fact the latter part of the film goes through a transformation of its own, as it reveals, in case you weren’t already aware, that what you had just witnessed was based on fact, as the talking heads of the real people involved confirm.

Amer portrays what it feels to be wanted, and the lengths some of us would go to, to feel just that.

It’s certainly a project that attracted a fair amount of talent, especially behind the camera, with Spike Lee, Spike Jonze and our very own Riz Ahmed, named amongst the exec producers involved. That’s an impressive endorsement if ever there was one.

What starts as a film about family ultimately turns into a tragedy of our times, forcing a young bright woman to question her identity over and over, to the point that it results in her downfall.

It’s both brutal and bleak, and undeniably a bold feature to kick start a career in film.

we give this four out of five