Perfumes of Algiers

A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj's histrionic "Perfumes of Algiers."

With:
With: Monica Guerritore, Adel Djafri, Chafia Boudraa, Sid Ahmed Agoumi, Rym Takoucht, Mohamed Benguettaf, Ahmed Benaissa, Luca Lazzareschi, Youcef Meziani, Adila Bendimered, Souheila Mallem. (French, Arabic dialogue)

A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing visions of Algeria. Yet the meller exaggerations, atrocious dubbing and unrestrained color correction sabotage any serious appraisal of the message or the vehicle. This trouble-plagued production (Isabelle Adjani and Alessio Boni ankled, among other shakeups) won’t reverse its ill fortunes on the international scene.

In 1998, at the height of Algeria’s problems with jihadis, Karima (Monica Guerritore) gets a call in Paris from her mom (Chafia Boudraa) begging her to return home. Karima felt she had put her past behind her, but sibling affection takes her back to Algiers to discover why her beloved brother Mourad (Adel Djafri) turned terrorist. Once there, she’s forced to confront her demons, especially abusive father Ahmad (Sid Ahmed Agoumi, painfully strident), a symbol of an Algeria that’s gone from noble independence fighters to emasculated bullies. Storaro wildly overdoes the tracking shots.

Perfumes of Algiers

Algeria

Production: A Net Diffusion, Algerian Agency for Cultural Outreach production. Produced by Mustapha Orif. Executive producers, Madani Merabai, Rachid Benhadj. Directed, written by Rachid Benhadj.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Vittorio Storaro; editor, Francesca Bracci; music, Said Bouchelouche; production designer, Amine Debagh; sound, Kamel Mekesser. Reviewed at Abu Dhabi Film Festival (competing), Oct. 17, 2012. Running time: 112 MIN.

With: With: Monica Guerritore, Adel Djafri, Chafia Boudraa, Sid Ahmed Agoumi, Rym Takoucht, Mohamed Benguettaf, Ahmed Benaissa, Luca Lazzareschi, Youcef Meziani, Adila Bendimered, Souheila Mallem. (French, Arabic dialogue)

More Film

  • First Look at Trailer for Avi

    First Look at Trailer for Avi Nesher’s Toronto Entry 'The Other Story'

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

  • SXSW Winner 'Jinn' Bought by Orion

    SXSW Winner 'Jinn' Bought by Orion Classics for November Release

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

  • Federico Veiroj's Toronto/San Sebastian Title ‘Belmonte’

    Watch the Exclusive Trailer for Federico Veiroj's Toronto, San Sebastián Player 'Belmonte'

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

  • Oscars Popular Film Illustration

    Will Oscars' Popular Film Category Generate Ratings or Just Controversy?

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

  • Theodore Pellerin stars as “Xavier” and

    'Outlaw King,' 'Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy' to Open and Close Toronto Film Festival

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

  • Cobie SmuldersChanel Tribeca Film Festival Artists

    Cobie Smulders Comedy 'Alright Now' Lands at Gravitas Ventures (EXCLUSIVE)

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

  • Jordan Peele photographed by Art Streiber

    What's Next for Jordan Peele and His House of Horrors

    A prize-winning photographer returns to Algeria after 20 years to get her Islamist brother out of prison in Rachid Benhadj’s histrionic “Perfumes of Algiers.” Working with a mixed cast and crew of Algerians and Italians, with Vittorio Storaro providing the overbaked lensing, Benhadj (“Mirka”) strives to comment on the painful tug of war between competing […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content