The young Kamel wants to leave Algeria and join his friends in Italy. But first he wants to persuade his girlfriend Zina to go with him and he needs to get hold of a passport. Kamel is looking for Bosco, a shady figure who allegedly helps illegal immigrants find their way to Europe. On his quest, Kamel and Zina crisscross the centre of Algiers and the deserted suburbs before finally falling into the hands of the vice squad.
Rome Rather Than You is full of painful indifference, the threat of unpredictable dangers, the limitations of a curfew. Against the background of the violence that has afflicted Algeria for more than 10 years, this feature debut expresses the fresh spirit of the country’s unknown youth culture. The urban desert, within which the young couple makes expectant yet unsuccessful trips, is stripped of any all-too-easy folklore by the jazzy soundtrack. The acting by the two protagonists is filled with original mutual tension. Their dialogues are entertaining and sparkling between threatening intertitles and short independent scenes with fundamentalists and stowaways that provide the political framework.
This unusual combination of moods is not so much about the innocence of youth but primarily describes an indestructible vitality. The film is sultry and loosely shot. The lack of plot development does not get in the way anywhere. Rome Rather Than You is as topical as it is timeless. (LC)


Original title
Roma wa la n'touma
Filmmaker
Tariq Teguia
Country
Algeria, France, Germany
Year
2006
Medium
35mm
Length
111’
Language
Arabic
Producer
Yacine Teguia, Cati Couteau, Helge Albers
Production Company
Neffa Films, INA - institut nat. de l'audiovisuel, Flying Moon Filmproduktion
Sales
Neffa Films
Writer
Tariq Teguia
Cinematography
Nasser Medjkane
Editor
Hacène Aït Kaci
Sound Design
Corinne Gigon, Kader Affak, Miriam René, Laurent Thomas
Music
El Hachemi L'Kerafaoui, Tchamba, Archie Shepp, Ornette Coleman, Cheb Azzedine
Cast
Rachid Amrani, Samira Kaddour