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Saturday, April 28, 2012

HORS LA LOI / OUTSIDE THE LAW (2010)

Writer/director Rachid Bouchareb tackles the next chapter of the Algerian Independence Movement (French Division) after his INDIGÈNES/DAYS OF GLORY/’06. That film focused on the Algerian Nationals who fought with the French in WWII. Now we watch three displaced Algerian brothers reunite in France after being separately radicalized in jail for political crimes; serving with the French army in Vietnam; or thru hustling/pimping in the streets outside shantytown. The drama rises & falls as the brothers respond (enthusiastically, reluctantly, guiltily) to the demands of the FLN political terrorist movement and to the grim tactics taken by the police to stop the violence. Bouchareb aims for something on the order of ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS/’60 meets THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS/’66 and it largely plays out like a gangster pic (note the poster). But the film has much the same strengths & weaknesses of his previous look at the period, with an odd weightless quality to the tragic collateral damage while he’s busy force-feeding us potted history. The mix is both impressive . . . and indigestible.
DOUBLE-BILL: As noted above, you may want to watch DAYS OF GLORY first.

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