DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Roundabout in My Head

Director - Hassan Ferhani - 2015

"Dirty gem"
Cows in a slaughterhouse remain strong and resilient despite their horrific predicament, just like colonised people; this riveting documentary is a very graphic metaphor of European colonisation in Algeria

The slaughterhouse echoes fatalism, carnage and struggle. The killing methods for cows have been redesigned in order to reduce the pain inflicted to the animals. But it’s all good news for the bovines: beef consumption worldwide has tripled in the past four decades.

The physical and mental plight of the workers in slaughterhouses is a serious issue with various ethical and environmental implications — and this is what Algerian filmmaker Ferhani explores in his film. The title of the film refers to one of those workers’ statements: “In my head, it is like a roundabout with 99 exits”, even though we all know that a roundabout has no more than four exits.

Roundabout in My Head is a study of modern-day Algeria. There are evidently two forces in contrast: Thanatos (the daemon personification of death) and Eros (the impulses for love and desire). Whilst the film contains graphic scenes of animal slaughter, audience is entertained by the workers’ tales of love stories, which are surprisingly naive. They believe in true love and sacred marriage.

One of the most smashing registers of the movie, some butchers are trying to watch a football match on TV while other butchers drag a cow to the killing site, with the animal suddenly obstructing the view of the football fans. Everything looks absurd, and victory, competition and life itself seem futile.

One of the workers shows his employment documents — he started working in the slaughterhouse in 1945. They play domino or watch films in French language on TV. They discuss in Arabic what if Zidane would play for their country, instead of being a member of French National Team. By portraying the daily life in the slaughterhouse, Roundabout in My Head is a reminder of the resistance and pride of the colonised Algerian and Berber, despite the heavy hand of the settlers. The French controlled education, government, business, and most intellectual life for 132 years and through a policy of cultural imperialism attempted to suppress Algerian cultural identity and to remold the society along French lines.

Agonising gigantic and fat cows are killed in order to feed “civilised” people. The colonised are strong and resilient, despite their predicament — just like the cows. This documentary is critique of European colonisation and both European and Algerians should watch it.

Roundabout in My Head received the Emerging Talent Prize at Open City Documentary Festival.

Watch the film trailer below:

.



"Dirty gem"

By Maysa Moncao - 26-06-2016

By Maysa Moncao - 26-06-2016

Maysa Monção is a Brazilian writer, teacher, translator, editor and art performer who currently lives in London. She has a Masters Degree in Film Studies from Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, ...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

The Long Rider

Sean Cisterna
2022

John McDonald - 22-06-2022

Authentic, intimate and raw documentary about an aspiring journalist’s 25,000km, eight-year incredible epic journey on horseback will move and grip you - from the Dances with Films Film Festival [Read More...]

Traffic and tragedy: 21st Transylvania International Film Festival round-up

 

Redmond Bacon - 21-06-2022

Our critic's time in Cluj-Napoca offered a serendipitous combination of location and venue, offering a balm in difficult times [Read More...]

Babysitter

Sonia Chokri
2022

Redmond Bacon - 21-06-2022

This Quebecois tale of toxic masculinity feels as unwanted as the acts it tries to make fun of — live from Transylvania International Film Festival. [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *