Eye For Film >> Movies >> Les Diseurs de Verite (2000) Film Review
Les Diseurs de Verite
Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown
Algerian journalist Sahafi - the self-appointed "Speaker of Truth" of the film's title - flees to the Netherlands after experiencing constant harrassment from the authorities and death threats from Islamic militants. As his asylum case is processed, the film alternates between his new life and the events leading up to his departure.
Karim Traida's second feature feels like a natural progression from its predecessor The Polish Bride, which was screened at the EIFF in 1998. Again, the writer-director examines culture clash and the plight of a refugee, with long periods of tension punctuated by moments of sudden violence - whether real or imaginary - and sardonic humour.
While there's nothing earth-shatteringly innovate about Traidia's direction, it is certainly accomplished. Near every composition, camera movement and cut feels right. Combined with an outstanding performance from Sid Ahmed Agoumi - who is on screen almost constantly - Les Diseurs De Verite manages to successfully convey a man's frustration at his constant confinement without at the same time making the viewer's experience and equally frustrating and boring one.
My one lingering doubt about the film was that it might just be trotting out the same old Islamic fundamentalist bogeyman, an easy target for the unthinking film-maker. But, then, the Algerian-born director and his Algerian star know far more about the situation in that part of the world than I do. And, given the incommensurable alternatives of the truth of the Fundamentalist's Koran and the less absolutist truths of the secural, westernised, journalist, one can hardly complain if they - like their audience - choose the latter.
Les Diseurs de Verite is an effective, worthwhile film that deserves to find an appreciative audience.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001