L’échappée (2016)

Directed by Hamid Saïdji, Jonathan Mason
Algeria | PG | Drama, Short | Arabic, French, Italian | 20
Venue: Warehouse421, Mina Zayed

Hocine Filali is a forty-something taxi driver in the port city of Algiers. His day-to-day routine has him snaking through thick morning traffic, bustling boulevards, and the occasional military checkpoint. In the distance, the sound of the call to prayer mixes with the crash of ocean waves as they bring word of what life might be like elsewhere, across the ocean, in Italy.

You see, Hocine is a dreamer. An amateur photographer whose skills are well known from the alleys of the Casbah to the big boulevards downtown, it seems that everyone knows who he is. And for a good story, or a nice bottle of Italian wine, Hocine will take the most amazing portrait for you to hang proudly on your wall. Hocine’s sister Safia, however, has been pushing for him for years to set sail for Europe where he might bloom and live a glamorous dream in the name of all those back home less talented, or less fortunate. But sunrise after sunrise, hocine watches the ferries leaving Algiers’ harbor without him.

As his ramshackle taxi drives past the port in search of a passenger, perhaps this will be the day he finally sets sail.