Perfumes of Algiers
Perfumes of AlgiersOriginal Title: Parfums d'Alger
Director: Rachid Benhadj
Algeria | Arabic, French
Award-winning Algerian director Rachid Benhadj (Desert Rose, Mirka
) returns with an
ambitious drama, packed with talent from both sides of the Mediterranean (and shot by legendary
Italian cinematorographer Vittorio Storraro), about a family crisis set in a tumultuous contemporary Algeria.
Karima (Monica Guerritore), a successful photographer who relocated to Paris years ago to escape the tyranny of her father (Sid Ahmed Agoumi), receives a sudden phone call from her mother (Chafia Boudraa), begging her to come back to Algiers immediately. Her brother (Adel Djafri) has been imprisoned, accused of terrorist activities. The forced return awakens Karima’s memories of a repressed past from which she had cut off her ties completely.
Back in her homeland, she must face the agonising reality she had rebelled against 20 years ago, as well as confront the painful truths about her brother. What happened to all those people
with whom she grew up? Moreover, who has she become, having left behind the fragrant gardens of Algiers to start a new life and adjust to an unaccustomed identity? For Karima, it is time to face up to the choices she has made and to finally decide where she really belongs.
Engrossing and stirring, Perfumes of Algiers is a touching story about looking for reconciliation
with the heavy burdens of a dark past. While dealing with worrisome social realities,
Benhadj’s film is also a celebration of Algerian women who valiantly fight for empowerment and emancipation despite the constraints of a deeply conservative society.
– Özge Calafato