Cinéma du Réel - International documentary film festival
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Fayçal Hammoum

2017 / Algeria / 82 min

i Friday 24 March 18H50 Luminor
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Original Version Subtitled in French and English + DEBATE

i Tuesday 28 March 14H00 Centre Wallonie Bruxelles
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Original Version Subtitled in French and English

Fayçal Hammoum recounts the 2014 presidential election through non-voting inhabitants of Algiers who, like him, are in their thirties. Be it Bilel, a grocer by default exposed to his customers’ political babbling, or the more politically-charged comments of Younes, a militant FM radio journalist opposed to President Bouteflika’s fourth term, the variety of conversational scenes in no way changes the determination not to vote for an old man who has been invisible for almost two years. The rappers Omar and Brahim are as bereft of hope and voter’s cards as the Tellek webradio DJ, since “the match is fixed”. Moving away from his focus on this subject to film their daily life, the filmmaker draws the portrait of a generation who, as Bilal says with poignant simplicity, “just wants to live”. The sequences in the small editing office of the independent French-language weekly El Watan Week-end function as an airlock into the second part of the film, which closely follows the campaign. There are the rallies for the presidential candidate, who is represented by a stand-in, and those of the coalition advocating the boycott of the election. The drollery of the disillusioned reflections of the young non-voters in no way hampers the political reach of this chronicle. Moreover, the authorities were only too aware of this: the film had been programmed for the Rencontres cinématographiques de Béjaïa in September 2016, but a “screening commission” cancelled the projection due to “content detrimental to the symbols of the State and sovereignty”. (Charlotte Garson)

Production / Print source: Thala Films

Fayçal Hammoum is a filmmaker and producer who grew up in Algiers. After graduating in law and cinema in Paris, he came back to Algeria in 2009 and started working for Thala Films Production Company. Vote off,  his first feature, was censored in Algeria.