3.5 stars

Here We Drowned Algerians – October 17th 1961.

The date mention in the film title, refers to the atrocities on the streets of Paris when a protest for independence by Algerians turned violent and the full depth of police brutality remained covered up for decades.

I knew nothing about this event prior to seeing the documentary.
What clearly is a pivotal moment in the history of independence, gets a fresh look because of the intrepid research of director Yasmina Adi.   She took it upon her to investigate archives, interview those who were there that night, and ultimately obtained stunning audio showing the appalling handling of the curfew protest by the police.

Edited amongst the photographs and television / newsreel footage from the era, as moving and heartbreaking testimonies from wives, whose husbands joined the rally and ultimately never returned.  The continual systematic imprisonment of a significant number of protesters, against their rights – is expertly documented in ‘Here We Drowned Algerians’.  I found the motives and decisions by the police to be appalling and inconceivable.  Adi’s documentary is compelling and disturbing, and powerfully uses first-hand accounts to deliver an astounding rebuke of the authority on that night.

Screening at the Dubai Film Festival in 2011, and winning second prize in Muhr Arabic Documentary category – ‘Here We Drowned Algerians’ is a shattering expose of evil and human right violations on the highest scale.

Seek this film out.

Score:  3.5 stars
Director: Yasmina Adi
Running Time: 90 mins
Language:  French with English subtitles




Wrinkles (Arrugas) – 3.5 stars

What a pleasure to still be moved by a hand-drawn animated film. 
Wrinkles (Spanish title: Arrugas), came to my attention when scanning the shortlist of the Best Animated Feature category for the 2012 Oscars.
Unrelated, I received a request to view the film online, just prior to the closing of ballots for the Oscars.

Wrinkles is by far one of the most enjoyable and moving animated films I have seen.
It will still be on my mind when I write my list of best films at year end.
None of the emotion is forced.  The characters genuinely feel real, and have an instant like/dislike quality to them.  

Emilio is a retired banker suffering the onset of Alzheimers.
His family move him into a nursing home, where, as he struggles to acclimatise to a changing life, he befriends the other residents.  Each have their own quirk, their own way of handling the slow journey of their life.  

The opening scene of Wrinkles grabbed my attention with its smart use of undercutting a viewer’s expectation. Not everything you see is what you expect.  
In the monotonous setting of a retirement home, we begin to understand the escapism and lies the residents endure each day. 

All but one scene fails to hit the right chord.  A late night journey seems unexpected, a little too improbable, but thankfully doesn’t impact on the overall charm of the film.

Wrinkles is a lovely and rewarding achievement. 
The achievement isn’t in the style of animation, but in the emotion of the story.
It is what animation should be.  Not reliant on overzealous animation, or catchy production numbers, but driven by a thoughtful and meaningful story with a lead character you care deeply for. 

Wrinkles received a nomination for the Best Animated Feature at the ‘Annie Awards’. As well it received a Best Screenplay and Best Animated Film nomination at the ‘Goya Awards’.

At the time of writing this review , it is among the films shortlisted by the Academy for the Best Animated Film category.

3.5 stars
Director: Ignacio Ferreras
Spanish with subtitles