Drama films

South Terminal Review – Powerful Dispatch of Civil War | Drama films


FFranco-Algerian filmmaker Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche sends us a dispatch of a civil war with Terminal Sud, an intriguing and somewhat abstract drama about a country sinking into chaos. The facts on the ground seem to agree with the Algerian civil war of the 90s, the so-called “black decade” which claimed over 100,000 lives. But the film was mostly shot in the south of France, and Ameur-Zaïmeche doesn’t hide contemporary details like mobiles and new SUVs. He has said in interviews that it’s about making it universal: it could happen anytime, anywhere. The approach isn’t entirely convincing, and the hazy sense of time and place can be a bit distracting and frustrating at times. But there is real power in many scenes.

The film is told in fragments as an oppressive government strengthens its grip. It opens with a minibus stopped at a military checkpoint, the passengers held up and held up. By soldiers or a rebel group disguised in military uniform? Who knows. The city is a wild west. Men in balaclavas drive around in unmarked vans, shooting journalists and dragging suspects through the streets. The attention of the camera is often unexpectedly diverted from the main event. When a man is tortured in a military prison, Ameur-Zaïmeche spends as much time watching the torturer soften – to get excited like an athlete – as he does during questioning.

Holding all these moments together is a deeply charismatic and imposing performance by French comedian Ramzy Bedia. There are other doctors in the dilapidated hospital where he works, but it is the Doctor, a great man built like a farmer, gentle and tender with his patients. He tells everyone he’s neutral but death threats come. The film accumulates even more as he spends time in front of the camera.