the honest and moving image of a fractured Algerian society in a dramatic comedy

Can we talk about a country we left more than 35 years ago? Illustrated El Ciudadano by Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn already asked this question at the 2016 Venice Film Festival. honorary citizenMohamed Hamidi, to whom we are indebted The cow, re-adapted the Argentinian scenario to cook it in a Franco-Algerian sauce. In this remake, Samir Amin, a French writer of Algerian origin, recently received the Nobel Prize for Literature for his latest novel.

As in his previous books, Samir Amin was inspired by his native village Sidi Mimoun and its inhabitants. The Nobel-winning novelist, lacking inspiration and on the verge of depression, was invited to the four corners of the world for conferences and other social events, but refused all invitations. Even Sidi Mimoun wants to recognize him as an honorary citizen and build a statue in his honor. “You owe them that.”, insisted his son who finally convinced his father to return to Algeria, a country where he swore to himself 35 years ago never to set foot again. Samir Amin will reconnect with his past, and find those he left behind.

Those who lose their senses in a village they haven’t visited in over 30 years are guided by Miloud, a childhood friend turned town hall employee who swears he’s read all the famous books. of the author. A devoted servant invested in a mission, Miloud takes great care. As usual, the clownish game of Fatsah Bouyahmed, is present at The cow, shining. Faced with this touching despite the invasion of the character with big glasses, the taciturn Samir Amin will gradually reveal himself and give birth to a friendship full of respect.

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Welcomed like Messi by the inhabitants of the Village, proud to see a child in their land awarded the Nobel Prize, the character played by Kad Merad not only meets the fans. Like Mokthar, this evil son of a winegrower who demanded accountability after the author was inspired by his father’s story in one of his books. Or Hamid Mezouar, played by Zinedine Soualem, a celebrity who turned his back on the writer when he saw that the latter did not want to be involved in corruption.

Like the rest of Mohamed Hamidi’s filmography, honorary citizen is a story that depicts characters who share a dual identity. A recurring theme found in born somewhere, The cow or So far so good. “I let myself get carried away by the subject and the message and it was easy for me to bring myself to this character because, deep down, this person is a bit like me. A person with a strong- on relationship with his country but who has never returned there”, confessed Kad Merad, who played one of his best roles there. Besides, the deep lyrics of the song El Rayahby Dahmane El Harrachi taken by Rachid Taha, echoing the film that takes all their meaning.

The story of Samir Amin's character parallels the past of Kad Merad, a Franco-Algerian who maintains a strong connection to his father's country of origin.  (AXEL FILMS PRODUCTION / APOLLO FILMS / C8 / JANINE FILM)

If the filmmaker is forward to attack politicians, corruption and the weight of religion that burdens the citizens, he also leaves room for hope, brought by young people who are committed. Because although shot in Morocco for practical and political reasons, honorary citizen took place during the Hirak demonstrations in Algeria, a popular movement born against the fifth candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika for the presidency.

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A commitment that consists of the sparkling Oulaya Amamra who embodies a rapper with sharp lyrics or even Brahim Bouhlel, a young receptionist whose pen will hold the attention of Samir Amin. honorary citizen is a touching and sensitive dramatic comedy, which offers an honest and fair image of Algerian society in all its complexity and richness, elegant rhythm by Ibrahim Maalouf’s notes.

Movie poster

gender : Comedy, Drama
Director: mohamed hamidi
Duration : 1h36
Distributor: Apollo shows
exit: 14 September 2022

Summary: Samir Amin is an accomplished writer, Nobel Prize for Literature, who lives in Paris, far from his homeland, Algeria. He systematically refused all invitations made to him. Until the day he decided to accept being made an “Honorary Citizen” of Sidi Mimoun, the small town where he was born. But is it good to see again the inhabitants of this city, who become, every year, the characters of his different novels?

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