143 Sahara street

Hassen Ferhani
Algeria, France, Qatar | 2019 | 100 min
Languages : Arabic, French, English
Subtitle : French

On the Trans-Sahara Highway, between Algiers and Tamanrasset, Malika reigns unchallenged over her twenty square metres, where she welcomes the travellers through the desert: an intrepid Polish woman, enthusiastic musicians, a friend passing through, a suspicious imam... Hassen Ferhani shines a light on the social outcasts of Algerian society.

We could be in a John Ford film and it could be called The Searchers. On the Trans-Sahara Highway, inaugurated by Houari Boumediene in 1978, Malika reigns unchallenged over her 20 square metres, where, straight-faced and teasing, she welcomes travellers in the desert: Maya, the intrepid Polish backpacker; casual acquaintances such as the writer Chawki Amari, with whom she drafts a hilarious sketch, or the actor Samir El Hakim, whom she sees right through; but also a suspicious imam, a group of enthusiastic musicians, lorry drivers… The desert is space converted into time. And Ferhani rightly gives over this time to the words and silences that unfurl within it. All of Algeria seems to consult Malika, this formidable sphinx who is so attentive to everyone. Once again, the quality of the filmmaker’s framing is impressive, exploring each and every centimetre of this unattractive space so as to enhance it. The imperceptible shift from documentary to fiction also hits the mark. Using falsehoods to tell the truth? Hassen Ferhani has created a masterpiece.

Bertrand Bacqué

143, Rue du désert, 2019
À l'Ouest de Seriana, 2017
Fi rassi rond-point, 2015
Tarzan, Don Quichotte et Nous, 2013
Afric Hotel, 2011
Les Baies d'Alger, 2006
Sound
Antoine MorinMohamed Ilyas Guetal
Editing
Nadia ben RachidStéphanie SicardKhada NinaHassen Ferhani
Production
Narimane MariOlivier Boischot

Atelier Hassen Ferhani

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