a searing tribute to the fire – and failure – of the Arab Spring

The semi-arid city of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia is essentially the source of the Arab Spring. It is the birthplace of street vendor Mohamed Boazizi, whose self-immolation in 2010 in protest at the confiscation of his goods sparked the Tunisian revolution.

No film had ever been made here before Harka, the muscular fiction debut of British-Egyptian-American writer-director Lotfy Nathan. Set a decade after spring and inspired by Boazizi’s story, it’s a film full of purpose and desperate power. It’s arguable he should have been in contention for the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, but instead he’s the first major standout in the sidebar of Un Certain Regard, which features some of cinema’s world champions (The Square’s Ruben Östlund, for example). Get boosted up earlier in their careers.

Hefting Nathan’s film to greatness is an extraordinary, haunted performance by French-Tunisian star Adam Bessa – a former fisherman who stumbled into acting a few years ago and may be linked to his role opposite Chris Hemsworth in the Netflix action film Extraction (2020). recognize is. . He is remarkably handsome and is the only professional actor in the cast. You can’t take your eyes off his closed face and weary stare as the film builds a one-man-versus-the-system polemic out of his character’s utterly compelling predicament.

At the beginning of the film, Ali (Bessa) is selling gas on the side of the road and crouching in someone’s empty shack. He has not benefited in any way from the economic advancement for which his generation fought 10 years ago. In fact, corruption is still rampant and he has to hand over most of his earnings to the local police every day.

When his brother flees to work as a waiter at a seaside resort, Ali finds himself the breadwinner of two younger sisters and must make dangerous runs into the desert to collect gas – sequences in which Nathan fires booby traps with slow-burning voltage. since the authorities could easily pounce on the horizon to imprison or kill him. The recent death of her father has left Ali’s family with crippling debt and bailiffs knocking at any moment to repossess her home.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/harka-review-searing-tribute-fire-failure-arab-spring/ a searing tribute to the fire – and failure – of the Arab Spring


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