Keimena #37: Lmuja (The Wave)
by Omar Belkacemi

Monday August 28, 2017, 24:00 on ERT2
Lmuja (The Wave), 2015, Algeria, 37 min.
Director: Omar Belkacemi

Omar Belkacemi’s The Wave tells the story of Algerian journalist and writer Redouane, who comes back from Europe to investigate a wave of suicides in his native country during the mass lay-offs of the late 1990s.

Redouane moves to the port city of Béjaïa, where he lives with his sister Latifa, her son, and her husband Mokrane, who is battling depression after having lost his job. The film follows the escalating family crisis, which culminates in Redouane’s decision to abandon the coverage of the events, feeling too personally involved to speak objectively about them.

By portraying a single story of despair, which converts abstract issues into the domestic sphere, Belkacemi discloses the complexity of a national malaise. While little known internationally, the economic crisis of the 1990s had a large and lasting impact on Algeria’s social structure. While Algeria struggled to deal with the threat of terrorism, the International Monetary Fund’s structural plan for the country enforced the closure of over 1,000 public companies, leading to over 500,000 redundancies.

With a crude gaze that strikes a delicate balance between objectivity and empathy, and spoken in Berber language, Belkacemi’s film depicts present-day international politics and economics. The effects of those policies can be extended from the Algerian context to other, similar crises.

—Filipa Ramos, writer and editor

Posted in Public TV on 08.28.2017