Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

I could tell I wasn't the only person in the screening just a tad uncomfortable with this film. More on that in a minute.

Taking a potentially interesting idea - three kids fending for themselves after Mommy has gone "bye bye" - Isild Le Besco lets this film meander in repetitive and unrealistic ways. It's shot all on digital video and handled like a documentary. It doesn't convince. But the kids all perform pretty well.

Copy picture

Two sisters and a brother (aged seven, eight and nine) shoplift, scam fast food restaurants, play until ungodly hours and sneak into movies (Plunkett And MacLeane, which they appear to like), all the things that parents would frown upon. It's fun and games to begin with, but soon the stress of keeping it together begins to wear them down, both physically and mentally. Their health declines and they are reduced to eating raw Nesquick...ew!

What became of the runaway mother is never known. Somebody, one of the kids obviously, narrates the film as an adult. Which one is never revealed, either. Most of the dialogue is not translated into subtitles, so we have to get the gist of conversations ourselves. It gets on the nerves a bit.

But the most worrying aspect of Demi-Tarif is that for 60% of the time these kids are naked. Not just hiding in the shadows naked, but full frontal, no-holds-barred kids with no clothes on. I'm watching this thinking, "What the hell, man?" Okay, maybe once, for artistic reasons, to make a point. But constantly, again and again, made me wonder how they got away with it.

Brave kids, but what are their parents thinking? Or have they run away, too?

Two stars, purely for a mercifully short running time.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2004
Share this with others on...
Demi-Tarif packshot
Abandoned kids scam a life of shoplifting, scamming restaurants and eating junk.

Director: Isild Le Besco

Writer: Isild Le Besco

Starring: Kolia Litscher, Cindy David, Lila Salet

Year: 2003

Runtime: 63 minutes

Country: France


EIFF 2004

Search database: