From revolutionary heroes to a hirak void of leaders: The transition captured in film

INSIDE NORTH AFRICA

In Bab El Oued City (Merzak Allouache, 1994), Ouardya (Nadia Samir) takes sips of her drink as she romanticizes the Algeria of 1962, a country that had just ripened, whose people were finally tasting its forbidden fruits. Tears fall down on her face as she laments about the civil war that has taken over thirty years later. Her reality takes out the cigarette of bitter nostalgia.

Allouache aimed to clog his films with anti-hero images as a protest to the themes woven into war films when the country was still at its infancy – his Omar Gatlato (1976) and Rooftops (2013) pictures make that painfully obvious. Allouache strives to undress ills in Algerian society, sometimes in intentionally provocative ways, but the personalities offered on the menu are often incredibly flat and flavorless. It may have been an accident that Allouache was at least successful in capturing the emptiness that washed…

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