Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rachida (2002)

Directed by Yamina Bachir, this French film chronicles the life of Rachida, a young divorcee who lives with her mother and works as a teacher at a local school. Her life is turned upside-down, however, when she goes to work without wearing a veil over her face. This leaves her prey to a band of terrorists, who promptly kidnap her and instruct one of their members to bomb the school. Despite being left for dead, Rachida manages to survive and take refuge in the country side. Rachida was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002, and features Ibtissem Djouadi, Bahia Rachedi, Rachida Messaouden, Zaki Boulenafed, and Amel Chouikh. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 100 mins
Rachida (2002)

Although the film makes it an issue about not wearing a veil, the terrorists used that purely as an excuse and wanted her to plant the bomb in her classroom. Only an idiot would agree to that!
Dust Jacket:
Rachida, a young and self-assured teacher at an elementary school, becomes the target of terrorists when she refuses to place a bomb in her classroom. This acclaimed debut feature offers a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary citizens in Algeria, where terrorism was commonplace during the civil conflict of the 1990s.

From reading that it sounds like she was approached in the classroom when she was actually approached on the street in broad daylight. They were accosting her for what seemed like along time while no one came to her defense. Only after the shooting and the terrorists left the bomb next to her, did people come out to help.

That pattern then repeats as for most of the film is after she leaves Algiers and moves into a rural community to also teach in a school. There she also experiences the thugs and brutality of the "terrorists". In the end she does manage to pick up the pieces and to start teaching her remaining students in the broken down school.

All the way through the film, I kept expecting Rambo or an Arnold Schwarzenegger character to jump out and defend the community. No one tries to become the hero and they only flee and coward at the criminal gangs. It seems obvious that they needed neighbor watch programs and an armed militia. Not a single police was observed in the rural areas and the police only showed up after the shooting on the street to dispose of the bomb. There government was corrupt and crooked, but resorting to terrorism to make political statements was not the case but excuses to victimize civilians.

Very good film overall even if it was not a typical American film of good and bad with a Superhero to save the day. Foreign commentators have noted on occasions that many countries do not have the Superman hero to save the day.

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