Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"Outside the Law" a Must-See Algerian Film

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"Outside the Law" a Must-See Algerian Film

Article excerpt

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art closed its North African Film Festival on Feb. 24 with a screening of "Hors la loi" ("Outside the Law"). Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, the film was shown simultaneously in two theaters in the museum in order to accommodate the crowd. Ahmed Bedjaoui, director of the Algerian National Cinema, and Algeria's Ambassador to the U.S. Abdallah Baâli spoke before and after the film.

Like so many other great epic films, "Hors la loi" concentrates on a single family caught in the sweep of historic events. Although a brief prelude depicts the family's eviction from its ancestral land to make way for French colonists, the film is bookended by two dates: May 8, 1945, when crowds in Paris celebrated victory over the Nazis while in Algiers crowds marching for basic liberties were gunned down by French troops, and July 5, 1962, when Algeria won its independence.

Watching the protests and battles for Algerian rights, it was impossible to forget the battles going on in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, Libya and Palestine today. …

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