Rachida (Amazon.com Exclusive)
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The first-full length feature film by Yaminda Bachir-Choikh evokes memories of the worst atrocities of the terror in Algeria.
The forces of violence and ignorance erode but don't conquer decency and enlightenment in Rachida, the story of a vivacious young schoolteacher who refuses to buckle under intimidation, despite her anguish at living under the constant threat of terror in unexpected places. The film also highlights the corruption of an education system that has become the breeding ground of a culture of hatred.
"An urgent attack on wanton Islamic terrorism in Algeria."
"A spare and moving tale." -Village Voice
Rachida is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative. In Arabic with English subtitles.
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Powerful in its sincerity and passion. --Los Angeles Times
Such important testimonies must be seen by the greatest number of viewers possible. --Al Jadid
Top Customer Reviews
The first portion of the film explores the difficult social/political circumstances faced by everyday people during the civil strife of the 1990s, such as curfews and water rationing. Rachida (based on a real woman) is wounded during a confrontation with a group of young -- what's the appropriate word? -- terrorists, criminals...? The film leaves their affiliation unknown; Rachida's attackers wear hip clothes rather than robes and beards, a significant point for western viewers to consider.
During the second half of the film, Rachida and her mother relocate to the countryside in hopes that she'll be able to heal there. Unfortunately, they encounter a different set of predators outside the city. Again, affiliations are ambiguous. (I assume that this was intentional on the part of Bachir-Chouikh, maybe as a reflection of how complex the conflicts of the 90s were... no clear matter of religion vs secular government, Us vs Them, etc.)
Overall, the director seemed to want to emphasize the sad (yet hopeful) condition of the children, and the fearful paralysis experienced by the populace at large in the face of terror.
Not easy to watch, but nicely done and worth seeing.
* -- It's a bit more recent than Merzak Allouache's Bab el-Oued, and set in Algeria rather than France such as films like La Haine, or Yamina Benguigui's Inchallah Dimanche.
Rachida is a teacher in her mid-twenties who loves her job and has strong opinions about justice and civil rights ... She is cornered one day, by thugs who want her to take a briefcase that contains a bomb to the school. Of course she refuses. This happens out in the open streets, but no one comes to her aid. The terrorist and his accomplices surround her, one takes out a gun and shoots her in the abdomen. She is left lying on the sidewalk ... bleeding. The shooters flee ... Someone comes to her rescure and calls for an ambulance. A crowd grows larger as curious people push to see what happened ...
Rachida's mother sits on a bench in the hospital ... weeping softly ... waiting to here if her daughter lives or dies, as they operate to remove the bullet in her abdomen. Luckily, Rachida survives and awakens. She calls out for her mom, who is allowed to spend a few minutes with her. Her boyfriend visits as she is recovering. She learns her assailant was a former student. She can not fathom why he would shoot her ... After her release from the hospital, Rachida and her mom plan to leave their apartment home in the city and go to a small town in the mountains. They fear for their safty, believing that if the terrorist group knows Rachida survived she would be targeted for death, as she would recognize her assailants.
Rachida and her mom move to a small home in the mountains. They maintain a low profile and are visited at first only by a female relative who provided this safe haven for them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's more like a 3.5 stars. The story is a little weak, and does not reflect several other important aspects of that somber era.Published 12 months ago by someone
Tiresome - couldn't make it through to the end of the film. Uneven, violence-filled theme of renegade non-conformist who is out of place in jihad-controlled Algeria. Read morePublished 15 months ago by MLB