Viva Algeria | Chicago Reader

Viva Algeria

This French-Algerian feature by Nadir Mokneche offers an intriguing look at women in a changing Algiers, though an aimless script robs the story of any dramatic punch. Lubna Azabal easily holds the screen as an independent young woman whose frustrating affair with a married doctor sends her to a local dance club in search of sex. Her aging mother, a former cabaret star, dreams of the days when her physical charms brought her power over men. Less developed than these two characters is their downstairs neighbor, a blithe hooker who runs afoul of a local hood; her predicament fits the theme but pulls the narrative so far off course Mokneche can't find the center again. In French with subtitles. 113 min.

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