Set in a village in the Atlas Mountains in 1981, this deliciously assured first feature follows the fortunes of seven-year-old Mehdi, his mother and his grandfather as they try to get by without the boy's father (a teacher imprisoned for his political beliefs) during the month of Ramadan. Warm, witty and distinguished by a wonderful eye for telling details, the film paints a vivid and insightful portrait of a society torn between tradition and modernisation, where official corruption sits alongside religious conservatism, and a girl's make-up or a teacher's chair attain a significance both surprising and, finally, self-evident. The performances are impressive throughout, and Antoine Héberlé's imaginative 'Scope camerawork is never less than elegant, but it's the bold yet understated precision of Bensaidi's writing and mise-en-scène that suggest he's someone to watch.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Faouzi Bensaidi, collaborator Emmanuelle Sardou|