In Algeria in the 1990s, torn apart by a horrific civil war, no one is safe and terror rules, especially at night. When the young female doctor Amel takes the seriously ill boy next door to hospital one evening, she is only able to return the next morning. Her husband Murad, a journalist, has disappeared. Along with Khadidja, an older nurse, she decides to set off looking for her husband. It turns into a gruelling journey in which the women have to suffer greatly to discover the truth. On the way they are confronted with themselves and with each other.
The women clearly represent two generations of Algerian women. The young Amel doesn’t remember much about the FLN, while Khadidja had contacts with the freedom fighters in the past. When the two women are captured by Islamists, the commander lets them go because he still has a debt of gratitude to Khadidja. In the end the women find Murad at a place that harrowingly reveals how a country involved in a civil war can turn acquaintances into enemies.
After working as a documentary maker, in her feature debut Sahraoui does not allow herself to resort to simple dramatic interventions. Barakat! is convincing partly due to the outstanding actresses, who impressively reveal the inner development of both strong women in the calm, occasionally lengthy sequences. (GT)