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Hideous Kinky

FILMHIDEOUS KINKYDirected by Gillies Mac Kinnon Starring Kate Winslet Stratosphere Entertainment

No, this is not a Kate Winslet porn flick. The biggest mistake that the producers made in this film was choosing such a flashy title. I spent half of the movie waiting to find out what was so hideous and kinky about a hippy mother dragging her two kids around Morocco. Let me save you the trouble: "hideous kinky" is the "naughty" phrase that Winslet's two daughters invent and chant all over Morocco, enjoying the excitement of shouting out swear words while the natives remain unaware.

So now that we've got the title all cleared up, let's get to the story. Wait, there's a story? I promise you that there's one in there somewhere, but good luck following it. It starts out quite intriguing: the free love of the '60s had done some damage in London, as Julia (Winslet) finds herself unmarried with two little girls and the father nowhere in sight. The obvious solution is to hop on a train to Morocco and start anew. Right. The film starts abruptly, shoving you into their life in Morocco where the girls run wild through the dirt streets and mommy sells handmade dolls. One random day a street performer named Bilal (Taghmaoui) walks--on his hands--into their lives, and quickly becomes a lover to Julia and surrogate father for the two daughters. Hey, it could happen--it's the '60s and we're in Morocco.

Although they are a happy family for a while, the money soon runs out and they are forced to embark on a journey of sorts. In typical hippy style they backpack it to Bilal's hometown, to a lakeside campground, a rich Englishman's house and so on, constantly looking for food and money. Getting separated from first Bilal and then the daughter Bea Keeps the plot moving, and the wonderful shots of Morocco (the film was shot entirely on location) flirt with your eyes.

There is one crucial element that this film lacks: transitions. One minute they are singing in the closet, the next they are dancing at a religious festival--with no segway whatsoever. The film is based on a novel, and I got the impression that the screenwriter included only the action-packed chapters and left out the ones in between. I decided to read the lengthy synopsis I'd received after I'd seen the movie. Wow! Things actually made sense when I read it--which again, supports my point that they tried--and failed--to tell the story with actions instead of dialogue.

That being said, there were three amazing things about the film. First, the two child actresses are phenomenal. Bella Riza (Bea) and Carrie Mullan (Lucy) remain natural and true throughout the entire movie. I haven't seen child acting like this since Anna Paquin in The Piano. Secondly, the male lead, Said Taghmaoui, was fascinating to watch. He can speak to the camera with a simple lifting of his eyebrows. And lastly, as I said before, the cinematography is impeccable--think of the breath-taking desert shots in The English Patient and add some mysteriousness; it's entrancing.

Don't let the lack of transitions keep you from renting Hideous Kinky when it comes out on video. The film is worth seeing simply because it's not the same old Hollywood formula movie where a meteor is about to collide with the earth. Different is good.

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