10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The struggle between what we are versus what we would like to become,
This review is from: Viva La'ldjerie (DVD)
The film examines the lives of three women, largely outcasts from society, living in Algeria after the civil war of the mid-1990s. Each of the women, through a combination of bad luck and poor choices, live on the fringe of Algerian society. The main character Goucem (played by Lubna Azabal) is a 27 year old women who works in a photoshop by day and cruises around the clubs at night. She has had a string of come-and-gone lovers and is now considered too old (and too `well traveled') to settle down with a respectable man. Her mother was once a famous singer whose star has long since faded, and now the two of them live together in a small apartment. The rent is paid by a doctor who is having an affair with Goucem. The doctor is married (to a harpy), but refuses to divorce her and is in fact having affairs with many other women beside Goucem. The third women, Fifi, is a prostitute living in the same building. This is a story about the past, the present, and the future. All three women examine where they came from, what they are, and what they would like to be. Fifi is the least unhappy with her life, and accepts her role as an outcast, Goucem wants something steady and secure, but isn't sure what, and Goucem's mother (Papicha) wants to become a star again. The backdrop for the film is post-civil war Algeria, and the clash of the past (represented in part by Islamic fundamentalism) with the uncertain future weighs over the entire film. I found this to be a compelling, well acted, thoughtful film that explores some timeless themes. Lubna Azabal in particular gives a nuanced performance, I suspect that we'll be seeing alot more in the future (I wish Hollywood would hire actress that could act!). This is not a film `about' Algeria in any substantiative sense, with small changes this film could have been set anywhere in the world (i.e. replace Islamic fundamentalists with Christian Evangelicals), so if you are looking for an `Algerian' film, this is not a great choice. A well done, if not uniquely outstanding, film and definitely worth a look.