Algerian filmmaker Merzak Allouache, whose 1993 feature Bab El-Oued City forced him into exile in France, returned to his native land for this superior 2001 thriller about a freethinking Algerian woman in Paris (Marie Brahimi) who journeys to war-torn Algiers in search of her missing lover. Cloaking her motives as well as her head, she crosses into dangerous territory and is kidnapped by an Islamic terror cell, one member of which (Karim Bouaiche) frees her and then becomes a shadowy presence in her life. Allouache's script is so packed with incident that the characters have little time for debate, but the tension between fundamentalist and modern morality is finely woven into the action. In French and Arabic with subtitles. 95 min.
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