El Manara (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

El Manara (2004)





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El- Manara, is a brutally direct depiction of Algerian society during the rise of fundamentalist Islam, which was to give rise to civil war following the annulment of the 1991 elections, in which the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won. It follows the life of Asma who now lives with her daughter in France, having, like many Algerians, fled the war.The film flashes back to Algiers where Asma, a university lecturer shares an apartment with her friends Ramadan, a doctor and Fawzi, a newspaper journalist. They attend the Manara festivities, celebrating Prophet Mohamed's anniversary. The event, a peaceful carnival with music and fireworks, is used as a backdrop to subsequent social transformations, and acts to give the viewer an idea of Muslim traditions in Algeria, which are placed in confrontation with the Wahabite ideology of the FIS. The three young people face obstacles to their friendship and carefree life as the traumas of the 1988 Algerian uprising and ensuing repression brings them face-to- face with their values. Beyond Algeria, the film provides keys to understand the fragility of democratic cultures in the region along with the mechanisms of disseminating fundamentalist Islamist ideas.


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