News  ·  12 | 08 | 2019

Mediterranean dystopia

Concorso Internazionale - Terminal Sud

One third of the way through his sixth feature film, one market square-set sequence reminds us, all of a sudden, of the cinematic peculiarity of Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche: anger and humor, tension and relief, fumbling and obviousness, the assurance and freedom required to immediately drop a rebellious monologue and inject into the story what appears to be facetious improvisation mixed with sincere laughter. This focuses on the brand new Algerian smartphone Condor: excellent quality-price ratio but a bit heavy, at six kilograms. This three-act sequence between Ramzy Bédia and Slimane Dazi is intercut with long inserts featuring workers who are cleaning up the square, a slow ballet of sweepers and the hypnotic discs of rotating brushes. These inserts, one suspects, are absolutely not trivial: here and elsewhere, they insist on pointing out, regardless of the location, the presence of worksites. As such, it becomes difficult to ignore that, as always, it is a question of class warfare. That is the real raison dêtre of the brilliantly rudimentary dystopia put together by Ameur-Zaïmeche, who doesn’t identify the territories where he films, filled with signs and languages that point to the entire Mediterranean periphery, as well as discrete signatures – a license plate marked RAZ, a local newspaper called Dernier maquis – that accentuate the artificial nature of this world. The abstraction shows a conflict situation while removing all identity obsessions, smuggling the real political subjects beyond fear and frustration.