Philip Scheffner / DE, FR, 2022 / 105 min.
From one day to the next, an Algerian woman is driven into illegality. The life Zohra planned in France becomes an imaginary existence. Her isolation is made palpable as she literally vanishes from view.
“Europe” is the name of a bus stop in the French town of Châtellerault, where the Algerian Zohra Hamadi lives and works. She is recovering from major back surgery when overnight her new home becomes a hostile place: she is informed that her residence permit will not be extended. This puts an end to all her plans for the future—the husband who was coming over from Algeria, the family they were going to start. Instead, Zohra prepares for a life of illegality. Living in the abandoned houses of relatives. Buying a dress that doesn’t need ironing.
Director Philip Scheffner (Revision, 2012) cast the Algerian actress Rhim Ibrir to re-enact Zohra’s reality. As her French life vanishes, Zohra herself also disappears. Scheffner keeps her just out of the shot or shows her walking through deserted streets. The isolation in which undocumented people find themselves thus becomes palpable. Through blending fiction and reality, Scheffner creates a powerful political statement.
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