The Blessed

New Directors Competition | 2017 | 102 minutes

Stranger Says:

Set in Algiers in 2008, a few years after the long civil war has ended, the story looks at a generational divide, where the more cosmopolitan, secular (French-speaking) Algerians are at odds with the younger society that is increasingly being taken over by the (Arabic-speaking) zealously religious. While the plot is a bit meandering, it has some interesting elements about how people grapple with the decision of whether to leave their home country, when an authoritarian government or religious fundamentalism makes living there unbearable.

SIFF Says:

In Algeria’s coastal capital city, Amal and Samir are celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary. But while their connection to each other is clearly still strong, their country has not fared so well. It is a few years after the end of the decade-long civil war and the aftereffects of the conflict are everywhere, in the form of corrupt security forces, moralizing imams, loved ones killed or gone into exile. Likewise, the question of whether to remain in the troubled country—a question that has clearly been with them a long time—is always present, whether at a party with friends or when they head out together for drinks and dinner. Amal is worried about their son, Fahim, as she watches the repercussions of the war play out for the next generation. She believes passionately that their only option is to move abroad; Samir is just as passionate in his refusal to give up on their country. As they wander the city in search of a restaurant that will serve them alcohol, they mourn their lost illusions and wonder what the future holds. Dedicated to her parents’ generation, the powerful debut film of director Sofia Djama offers a warm, intimate, and compassionate look at a society struggling with its past.
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Film Credits
Director
Sofia Djama
Cast
Sami Bouajila, Nadia Kaci, Faouzi Bensaidi, Amine Lansari, Lyna Khoudri, Adam Bessa
Festivals
SIFF 2018