This evening we watched another small gem of a film, L’Italien. Chic, elegant, sexy Dino Fabrizzi is the star salesman at a Masserati showroom in Nice. At 42 years of age, he is offered the probability of becoming director and at the same time his girlfriend, Hélène, is thinking about marriage. Dino’s Italian background seems much to the fore, with always a choice Italian phrase at the right moment. But Dino is living a double lie. His real name is Mourad Ben Saoud. When Dino tells Hélène he is flying off to Rome to visit his parents he is actually driving to Marseille airport where his Algerian mother always faithfully awaits his ‘return’ from Italy, where he claims he works. It all begins to fall apart when Mourad’s father, a devout Muslim and suffering from a heart attack, makes Mourad promise to celebrate Ramadan in his place. Cue a series of witty gags and observations as Mourad increasingly realises that he has not just denied his religion but also his culture. The script has further fun by making Mourad’s best friend and adviser a Jewish-origin artist. Digging a little after the film, I was interested to discover this analysis of the film and of the phenomenon which it highlights on the BBC website here. Apparently an increasing number of second- and third-generation Algerian immigrants invent such double lives for themselves to favour their employment prospects. With questions of identity and immigration much to the fore in France at the moment, this film, which puts all of its emphasis on Mourad’s self-consciousness and does not take the easy route of portraying the French as racist, provides much food for thought, delivered with humour. As if to underline the message, the actor, Kad Merad, who plays Dino (and plays him very well) is said to have shortened his name from Kaddour to win himself more acting roles.