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Civil war consumes Algeria in 1994. Lofti (Lyès Salem) and S (Slimane Benouari), two friends from childhood, hit the road out of Algiers on the trail of Abou Leila, a terrorist on the run. Yet the further they get from the city, the more apparent the fragility of S’s mental state becomes, as does Lofti’s ulterior motive of protecting his friend from witnessing further bloodshed. As their quest brings them deep into the Sahara, the duo’s nightmares become more surreal, their grip on reality ever more tenuous. Amin Sidi-Boumédiène’s stunning debut feature is a vivid cinematic vision boldly exploring the impact of violence on the human psyche. MH
Photo: © Djamel Kadi