16/09/2014

Algerian filmmaker Lyès Salem to release The Man from Oran

The political drama will hit Algerian and French cinemas this November

Algeria

Algerian filmmaker Lyès Salem to release The Man from Oran

Six years after the release of Mascarades, Lyès Salem changes his tone and brings us The Man from Oran, a political drama that looks back over 30 years of politics and social life in Algeria, reports Vinyculture.

With an excellent cast, in which Lyès Salem plays the lead role alongside Khaled Benaïssa, Amel Kateb and Idir Benaïbouche among others, the film opens with two friends, Djaffer (Lyès Salem) and Hamid (Khaled Benaïssa) going for a drive. After escaping an ambush by the French armed forces, they join the ranks of the National Liberation Army (ALN).

A series of events succeed themselves: independence, its price, and the first behavioural changes among the older soldiers, alienated by the inebriating effects of power.

The film touches on corruption, the falsification of history, the Berber cause, the secret services, Arabisation and key steps in the formation of contemporary Algeria, often using humour (the scene on Arabisation is not to be missed) and highlighting, in Lyès Salem’s opinion, “the observation that it is the post-revolutionary period that has failed, as opposed to the revolution itself”.

But the film focuses above all on stories about people, friends brought to the point of tragic separation, a family torn apart, and small sacrifices mixed with strong selfish desires.

It is rare for an Algerian film to deal with issues that have been taboo for quite some time in such an explicit and beautiful way. There are no false tones or poor acting performances, the storyline is played out brilliantly by all the actors, with a special mention going to Khaled Benaïssa, who is unrecognisable in the role of Hamid.

The original soundtrack plays on Algeria’s rich cultural heritage, incorporating Judeo-Maghreb music and using guest performer Amazigh Kateb to good effect.

Over its duration of more than two hours, The Man from Oran glides through multiple tones and storylines, never losing its thread, culminating in the final scene in which a dreamt-of Algeria and an assimilated past seem within reach.

The Man from Oran will be released in Algeria and screened to the general public through the film library network and in other Algerian cinemas a few days before its scheduled release date in France on November 19.

 

Source: Vinyculture

Translation: Phoebe Murray

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