Algeria’s “Outside the Law” is Oscar Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

February 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila as brothers in the Algerian film "Outside the Law"

Movie poster for "Outside the Law"

The protests that greeted Rachid Bouchareb’s film Outside the Law at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in France were certainly not on the size or scale of those that have now run Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak out of his country. This film deals with a different revolution: the fight for Algeria’s independence from France. But as far as revolutions go, whether violent or non-violent, you can be sure that any protagonist explaining the struggle would point to “a cause higher than ourselves.” And that’s just what Abdelkadder (actor Sami Bouajila), a radical intellectual, does in one of the film’s scenes. He, his two brothers, and their mother have been viciously uprooted from their homeland by the French, and find their once divergent lives coming together once again in the fight for Algeria’s freedom. Attacked by at least two members of France’s Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s party for being “anti-French,” security had to be tightened for the movie’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year, when at least a thousand protesters showed up. Perhaps most embarrassing for France is the depiction by the filmmakers of the notorious incident in May 1945, when the French army opened fire on protesters in the Algerian city of Setif, massacring thousands of Algerians. Bouchareb, who directed the Oscar-nominated Days of Glory in 2006, insists that his film is “not anti-France,” and indeed, according to critics, the protagonists are certainly not depicted as saintly superheroes. Bouchareb was born in France, and French money formed the largest percentage of production funds, along with Algeria, Tunisia, and Belgium. You can watch the trailer after the jump. For more information about the film, visit the film’s website. Outside the Law (Hors-La-Loi) opens in theaters in California today (to little fanfare, needless to say). Bless…

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