Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside The Law (Hors La Loi) is in part a stand-alone sequel to his 2006 film, Days Of Glory. Written by Silenzio and the screenplay penned by Bouchareb himself, the film which starts in Algeria, follows three brothers as they are scattered across the globe through misfortune – Messaoud, joins the French army fighting in Indochina; Abdelkader becomes a member and later a leader of the Algerian Independence Movement (NFL) in France and Saïd moves to Paris with his mother to make his fortune in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle.
Eventually, their interconnecting destinies reunite them in the French capital, where fighting for the freedom and independence of Algeria becomes indispensable.
The movie was nominated for this year’s Oscars – in the category of Foreign Language Films despite French demonstrations against it when it premiered at the Cannes Festival last May. Quite frankly I never understood why?
The many reviews I have seen about the movie are not very encouraging. Come to think of it, it is not surprising that almost all of them were critical of the historical correctness of the movie! As such, every critic especially those I found on IMDB has taken huge liberties at doing very little justice to a fine picture! One critic expressed his opinion that it was;
“An Algerian Once Upon A Time In America (immigrant brothers starting up their own various criminal enterprises coming into conflict with one another)”.
However for peoples of any creed around the world who identify with what it means to be free from oppression and the struggles thereof, Hors La Loi paints quite a satisfying picture of the indispensability of Freedom and Justice in whatever shape or form! And the French demonstrations at Cannes last year only serve to enlighten us on the uneasiness that is associated with accepting the past.
The re-telling of a freedom story against the backdrop of the patriotic struggles of Algeria (and in fact of all once colonized or enslaved peoples), questions both the legacy of modern Western Europe and America and their hard-line policies in the rest of the world. God bless the positive thinking cinema lovers in the USA! They at least nominated it for the Oscars.
So after a sure-footed beginning, Hor La Loi sustains interest scene after scene, chronicling the multidimensional characters’ plot to advance their agenda from Algeria to France. Some of the beautifully filmed sequences include — the one at the end, which definitely packs a punch!
I am not quite sure what Bouchareb’s intentions were as he used basically the same cast who played friends in his earlier movie, Days Of Glory. One Algerian critic said;
This is very intelligent as it marks the fact that in every one of the Algerian struggle for independence, there was a Saïd, a Messaoud or an Abdelkader, who is a friend and a brother in every story. Those characters are a kind of a factorial of many stories in the struggle of the Algerian people.
The beautiful music and the splendid cinematography accentuate the superb performances of the actors. My only criticism is that the story did not reflect precisely all the aspects of the struggle by Algerians living in France at that time. But then again who can in 2 hours!!
As for me, I have so much praise for the execution. This movie deserves commendation, not a demonstration!
Stay tuned for the next installment from CinemAfrica!
[ ] What the hell did I just watch?
[ ] Umm, maybe somebody liked it.
[ ] It’s worth a watch.
[x] OK, I’m impressed.
[ ] Put everything down and run to the theater!
[sws_green_box box_size=”580″]Genre: Crime | Drama | History | War
Director: Rachid Bouchareb
Release Date: 22 September 2010 [/sws_green_box]