In the gripping opening of Yamina Bachir-Chouikh's 2002 first feature terrorists, including a former student, assault an Algiers schoolteacher (Ibtissem Djouadi) who refuses to carry a bomb into her school for them. Images such as shopkeepers closing their windows evoke the reverberations of such violence, and much of the film rambles, mirroring the teacher's state of mind as she hides out in a rural village: she gradually comes apart as she realizes that violence threatens there too—a wedding party scatters when the host announces that “they” are in town. Essential viewing for anyone wishing to understand the devastating psychological effects of years of terror, especially since the director drew on real events in Algeria. In Arabic with subtitles. 100 min.
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