Eye For Film >> Movies >> Les Diseurs de Verite (2000) Film Review
Les Diseurs de Verite
Reviewed by: Nicola Osborne
From the gunpoint opener it's clear that Les Diseurs De Verite is not going to make for easy or jolly viewing. Sahafi is a journalist and self-proclaimed "speaker of the truth", since he is working in Algiers and trying to report on corrupt officials this is not a pleasant job. He realises his life is in serious danger and therefore needs to decide whether to stay where he is and face certain death sooner or later, or seek asylum in the Netherlands where he will be safer, in the short term at least.
What follows is an often harrowing exploration of both options and some background to Sahafi's current uncertain existence. The feeling of paranoia is strong throughout while the scenes relating to the request for political asylum are chilling in the current, particularly given the current political climate of intolerance. That Sahafi and his colleagues all look very much like journalists adds to the film's realism, whilst his painting, memories of his family and other fantasy or flashback scenes give the film the same vague feeling of insanity apparently experienced by Sahafi.
Awareness-raising in dramatic work is often an iffy area, but Traida manages to put the issues across clearly, without judgement, whilst also creating sufficient interest in the characters to entertain. That it could so easily have looked like documentary, but has instead been stylised just sufficiently to indicate that it is fictional, is to Traida's credit since certain tricks (such as a re-enacted walking through of corridors under very different circumstances) would not have been possible. The style chosen also allows a lingering air of doubt as to where we are and when it is taking place, something left unexplained and unresolved until the close.
This is too uncomfortable and intense to call pleasant viewing, but it is extremely good and genuinely enlightening. It leaves you suddenly concerned with the well-being of those journalists across the world who have managed to remain unjaded, continuing their quest to be les diseurs de verite - the speakers of truth.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001