Regarde-moi (Aint Scared)

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BERLIN -- A bunch of mixed-race young people in a housing project on the outskirts of Paris banter, laugh, flirt and fight with mixed results in young French director Audrey Estrougo's "Regarde-moi."

Set over one 24-hour period, events are related twice -- first from the male perspective and then from the female -- offering quite different perspectives on what takes place.

It's an interesting concept and setting, and the young players account for themselves well. But much of the activity is necessarily mundane and the emerging conflict appears contrived. Aside from interest in an emerging filmmaker of promise, the picture, which has been given the English title "Ain't Scared," is unlikely to travel far beyond French borders.

The focus is on three couples among a group of typically listless, frustrated and restless youngsters in a barren urban landscape. The characters are sketched more than defined, with one young man who is supposedly bound for a top English soccer club far too old for that eventuality.

The everyday encounters are well observed but dull, and when the tension spills over into violence suddenly in a place always filled with noisy kids there is no one else around. Racial conflict bubbles in expected and familiar ways with little insight to add to the debate, or the solution.

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