The ambiance is established in the space of a few shots. Rachida, who is about twenty-years-old, is a schoolteacher in Algiers. A former student tries to force her to place a bomb in her school. She refuses and is shot on the spot. She survives and flees with her mother to a village, but the violence is everywhere Film editor Yamina Bachir-Chouikh spent six years trying to make this first film produced and shot in Algeria since her husband Mohamed Chouikh last shot L’Arche du désert, released in 1997. Portraying the worst years of terrorism, it is poignant and harrowing. The film makes no concessions, but passes no judgments either. The director does not try to give lessons or denounce things. She gives a heartfelt account of the situation, of a society whose children have been caught in the spiral of violence. She shows that there is no escaping this spiral and that the « anonymous » masses have only their courage to help them resist and continue to believe in tolerance and peace. She offers no ready-made solutions. Life is there, in each character, and the ending is sublime in its opening and determination. You simply have to see these children going back to school despite the horror, and this teacher take up her chalk again. Another film opens, the director’s and Algeria’s next film. It is not just great cinema; it is quite simply unforgettable.
2002, 100 min, 35 mm, colour, coprod. Ciel Prod/Arte France Cinéma/Cine-Sud Promotion (00 33 (0)1 44 54 54 77), image Mustapha Belmihoub, with Djouadi Ibtissem, Bahia Rachedi, Hamid Ramas, Abdelkader Belmodkadem, Rachida Messaouden. Official selection at Cannes 2002 (« Un certain regard »).///Article N° : 5606