Girls and Swallows

A table stacked with issues of Cahiers du Cinema and texts by Arab Renaissance writer Taha Hussein serves as an appropriate introduction to this second installment of Smihi's Tangier chronicles, which lovingly portray the city's unique blend of American, European, and Arabic cultural and intellectual influences. Hovering between childhood and manhood, our hero Larbi Salmi soaks in conversations that range from Errol Flynn to the Prophet, and experiences from political marches to prostitute courtships. In the background, as always, are the churches, mosques, streets, and cinemas of Tangier, each promising an education, an awakening, and a destiny. Smihi frames each confrontation against Tangier's dramatic architecture and landscape, from empty streets and flowing fountains to the coasts and forests along its edges, underlining the influence of its physical realms.

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