Checks and Balances

Malek Bensmail
France 2015 | 97 Min. | OmeU
If you talk about the system of checks and bal­ances, or the sep­a­ra­tion of powers, in Alge­ria, you are imme­di­ate­ly stamped as a provo­ca­teur, says Malek Bens­maïl. Those who are … read more

(Fi rassi rond-point)

Hassen Ferhani
Algeria, France, Lebanon, Netherlands 2015 | 100 Min. | OmeU

A slaugh­ter­house in Algiers: Youssef and his friend work here mostly at night. They talk about their day­dreams of love, while load­ing bloody cow skins on a cart. In pre­cise­ly framed, dense­ly atmos­pher­ic shots, Hassen Fer­hani cre­ates this assem­blage of (pleas­ant­ly non-bloody) images from the micro­cosm of an insti­tu­tion of killing. Halves of cows hang­ing in the air glide by in this place full of com­mo­tion. During the breaks, people talk about soccer and pol­i­tics – like why an Alger­ian-French soccer player refused to sing the “Mar­seilleise” – and what they expect from life. “In my head there is a busy round­about with thou­sands of exits, but I haven’t found mine yet,” con­tem­plates young Youssef in the scene that lends the film its title.
When Youssef talks with his Uncle Ali, we also get a glimpse of Alger­ian his­to­ry. Ali was born under French colo­nial rule, and he grew up during the war of inde­pen­dence. Youssef, on the other hand, is part of the Arab spring gen­er­a­tion. He is hoping for a better future on the other side of the ocean.
ROUNDABOUT IN MY HEAD is most likely the most beau­ti­ful film ever to be shot in a slaughterhouse.

Hassen Fer­hani geb. 1986 in Algier. Er arbeit­ete als Drehbuch- und Regieas­sis­tent und nahm an Work­shops der FEMIS teil. ROUNDABOUT IN MY HEAD ist sein erster Lang­film, der auf zahlre­ichen Fes­ti­vals lief und mit Preisen aus­geze­ich­net wurde (FID Mar­seille 2015 Grand Price French Com­pe­ti­tion; IDFA Spe­cial Jury Award for First Appear­ance; Turin Best Film for Doc­u­men­tary). Filme: LES BAIES D’ALGER (2006), AFRIC HOTEL (2011), TARZAN, DON QUICHOTTE ET NOUS (2013).