Softly One Saturday Morning

Softly One Saturday Morning


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Myassa is attacked. Attempted rape, late, on her way home from work. When she tells the police they're sympathetic , but not to her. He didn't assault her, he insulted her. "Nothing happened", they say. He's pitiable, her attacker - "he's burdened by misery, how do you expect him to be a man?"

The apathy of the state, of society, omnipresent, oppressive - in the Police station to report a crime she's offered her choice of tea, coffee, vodka - "only thing, there's no tea or coffee". She's shuffled around bureaucracy, forms are needed, but the only scratching of a pen on paper is to fill out a crossword.

Welcome to Algeria; things are broken. Taxis work off the meter, the Police don't want to work, the stairwell's out of sorts and the lift is out of order. The high-rise apartment complexes form anonymous canyons - it's only the nature of the light that separates this from the incognito Mumbai of I.D., this is the big city that grinds you down, but more firmly rooted in an actual sense of place than, say, Beijing Flickers.

The country's a mess, and the off-clock cabs and the speakeasies and the apathy and the filth and the apathy of the filth are symptomatic of the malaise. Sofia Djama's film is uncomfortable, intense, composed. It's not by accident that a door fills the frame, the patter of a lingerie salesman is not just a comic aside - there is weight here, intent well-executed. There are some niggles - chief among them that the subtitles in the version Eye For Film saw weren't quite right, but that's a forgivable consequence of budget.

Laetitia Eido's central performance is excellent, she and the city caught capably by the camera of Jean-Marie Delorme. Around their work the music of Samira Brahmia, Kadda Cherif Hadria, the occasional oppressive metallic sound. Softly... is shocking, powerful, discomfiting, and very good.

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2013
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A woman seeks justice after being sexually assaulted in urban Algeria.

Director: Sofia Djama

Writer: Sofia Djama

Starring: Kader Affak, Samir El Hakim, Laëtitia Eïdo, Yanis Koussim, Kamel Ait Mouheb, Mehdi Ramdani, Tewfik Rays, Abdelaziz Zeghbib

Year: 2012

Runtime: 28 minutes

Country: Algeria


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