Set during the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and the United Arab Republic this story of familial and national divisions has become one of Chahine’s most popular films in festivals and retrospectives. A young policeman’s adoptive father occupies a high post in the force, while his biological father is reputed to have been a left-wing activist. Raouf begins to search for those who might have known his real father, while his half-brother, stationed on the Sinai front, prepares for battle.
Omar is a young and lively, rather macho Algerian who holds a good job in the Department of Frauds and lives in a crowded apartment with his sisters, his mother and grandparents. He loves to listen to Arabian and Indian music, to party with his friends, and to dream about women. A friend of his gives him a tape; when he listens to it, he is fascinated by the woman’s voice. That same friend arranges for him to meet the woman, who is totally different from what he had imagined on hearing her voice.
In this intense adaptation of the classic Albert Camus novel, Arthur Meursault is a bored clerical worker in 1930s Algeria who is completely isolated from his surroundings. His alienation leads to sudden, mystifying attacks of violence, and eventually culminates in his arbitrary shooting of a man on a beach. In the ensuing trial, the full extent of Meursault’s existential crisis becomes alarmingly clear to judge, jury and prosecutor.