Auds who dozed through “Rome Rather Than You” are assured of a comfortable two-and-a-half-hour snooze during Algerian auteur Tariq Teguia’s sophomore outing, “Inland.” More of the same listless wandering and navel-gazing, though this time staged in some striking, thinly populated desertscapes, this pretentious yarn of a topographer sent to western Algeria is for the card-carrying nihil ex parvo crowd. Pic was duly anointed at Venice with the Fipresci award for best film in competition.
Reclusive Malek (Abdelkader Affak) is asked by a friend in Oran to resurvey a remote village so it can be connected to the main electricity grid. The original survey was never finished because of fundamentalist activity during the civil war, and the area is still regarded as dangerous. After (eventually) reaching the village, and (slowly) examining the area amid hostile officials, Malek, for no reason, takes off with a young African woman (Ines Rose Djakou) toward the Moroccan border, later heading south into the (infinite) desert. That’s it. Thinly dialogued yarn is peppered with scenes of intellectuals someplace else discussing democracy and political struggle. Nacer Medjakine’s good-quality HD lensing goes overboard in the dreamlike finale.