Tag Archives | Algeria

Film review: Madame Courage by Merzak Allouache

The latest film by Algerian director, Merzak Allouache, Madame Courage, shown recently at the BFI London Film Festival, is not only a visually striking, well-made production but a stark portrayal of the current state of Algerian society and the hopelessness of the situation of many young people in particular. The main character, Omar, feeds his drug habit by petty thievery; it is the ‘Madame Courage’ of the title which is the nickname for the pills that he relies on to face the world. Living in squalor in a shanty town on the outskirts of Mostaganem with his mother and sister, Omar faces the world with a silent defiance, which is only broken when he talks of his father, an oil worker who has died in Hassi Messaoud, and accuses his mother of pimping out his sister for prostitution. Indeed, apart from his mother’s brutal verbal outbursts and the constant playing of a religious radio station to which she is a devotee, silence permeates the whole film, in which there is singularly little dialogue. It is as though social relations have almost completely broken down, along with the social fabric. Thus the screen is taken up with images of Omar moving […]

Continue Reading 0