The Man from Oran
The Man from OranOriginal Title: El Wahrani/L'Oranais
Director: Lyès Salem
Algeria, France | French
Subtitles: Arabic, English
Six years after helming Masquerade, Lyès Salem presents The Man from Oran, a haunting political drama laced with the agony and angst of men and women who lived through the Algerian Revolution. Interspersed with the heartrending stories of revolutionaries and their unimaginable sacrifices, Salem’s latest film is also visually arresting with each frame magnificently composed. Indeed, a world unto itself.
The Man from Oran looks at the turbulent political history of Algeria as it fights “not the French occupiers but colonialism' over a 30-year-period through the eyes of two close friends, Djaffer (Lyès Salem) and Hamid (Khaled Benaissa). The opening shot shows them going for a drive, when they are ambushed by the French armed forces. However, they manage to escape and join the National Liberation Army.
When Algeria wins its independence, it brings along its own problems, treacheries and tribulations. Corruption in political life, falsification of historical facts and personal loss as well frustration brought about by arrogance and thirst for power have all been dealt with remarkable lucidity and conviction. Above all, the movie enumerates through Djaffer’s life (an excellent performance by Salem) how tragic separations, breakdown of families, small sacrifices and strong selfish desires change the tone and tenor of a society.