Roundabout in My Head
The men working at an abattoir in Algiers are mostly busy at night, and what they most love to talk about is the life from which they are so far removed. We see the workers in their bloody overalls surrounded by animal hides. Every once in a while one of the men peeks into the camera, which moves only on very rare occasions. The observational scenes of the men going about their work are interspersed with high-contrast shots of carcasses hanging in rows reminiscent of vanitas paintings – and accompanied by powerful Algerian folk music. Rarely has the unpleasant atmosphere of a slaughterhouse been rendered in such an extraordinarily beautiful way. The abattoir is a microcosm, a world within a world; during their breaks the men discuss politics, the refusal of some French-Algerian soccer players to sing “La Marseillaise,” and their own expectations for the future. And something of the history of the country also seeps into the film through conversations with “Uncle” Ali and Youssef. Ali was born during French colonial rule and lived through the bloody war of independence; Youssef comes from the generation inspired by the Arab Spring, but his hopes for a better future have been dashed. These scenes from everyday life in the slaughterhouse gradually segue into social critique.
Allers Retours Films
Narimane Mari from Allers Retours Films