Alienations | Chicago Reader

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This 2003 documentary about an Algerian psychiatric ward has no overriding thesis, but the interactions between patients, doctors, and family members are often fascinating. Some situations are familiar (patients who resist taking their medication), others are not (a doctor and patient seriously consider the therapeutic benefits of an exorcism). A vignette concerning a political candidate committed on the first day of his campaign suggests that some inmates are paranoid with good reason. But the material is so undeveloped that it's hard to surmise its meaning, and director Malek Bensmail's uninspired imagery and editing never really capture the rhythms of patients' lives. In Arabic and French with subtitles. 105 min.

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