This is a story of old and young in Algeria told through a mother and daughter hiding out in a hotel from local terrorists. We follow pretty Goucem, 27, through the urban landscape of modern-day Algiers as she attempts to assert her own version of a liberated lifestyle.
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One of my favorite films on Mubi thus far. I loved the soundtrack to this film, and I quite enjoyed how Goucem was portrayed as a woman that sleeps around, yet still has a kind and knowledgeable side to her. Stereotypes were broken in this film. The coloring was nice and subtle, and I love the image that is presented with the film. A beautiful shot of Goucem and her follower.
It seems obvious that befriending the reckless Goucem is the best way to die young if you live in a country like Algeria. Misogyny, discrimination, an autocratic government, bureaucracy, and terrorism do not help, either.
(3.5 stars) It's surprisingly empowering while showing the tragic effects of overreaching political power at the same time. The entire film takes on bittersweet tone as well, as even the various victories or achievements come with a stiff price. The best part of the film is the dynamic leading actress Lubna Azaba who is 100% captivating.
"Just another soap opera in less deft hands, Nadir Mokneche's (AKA the Algerian Almodovar's) "Viva Laldjerie" jumps off the screen with humor, poignancy and local color. Tale of a 27-year-old and her ex-cabaret dancer mother forced to make their way in Algiers as fundamentalism undermines even the arts, brims with human drama." - Variety. Top notch cast all around. Lubna Azabal is spellbinding.
I saw this when it played in LA, and promptly forgot the title, though I often thought of scenes from it. Meanwhile I've had a chance to learn more about Algiers via a biography of Francois Mitterand, and Kamil Daoud's book "The Meursault Investigation." It's inspiring to watch the mother break out of her paranoia and re-embrace her artistic talent, despite the insidious creep of religious fundamentalism.