imperial, racial and sexual ambiguities in 19th century French Algeria
The richly decorated mini-series vividly portrays the zeitgeist of colonial Algeria and studies the relations between metropolis and colony, colonizer and colonized, friend and foe.It is also a study of male friendship both between compatriots as the French doctor and interpretor who have different ideas on the organization of the French presence in Algeria as well between foreigners as the doctor and the Algerian patriot.I liked the costumes and locales as well the Algerian traditional songs dispersed through the action.Sexual relations are also explored, French men are not above keeping native women as concubines but the native woman's position under Islamic law is not more enviable or free, the mini-series seems to suggest. Idealist youths seeking a fusion between metropolis and colony on a higher plane are juxtaposed to old hand military men with hard won experience and the pessimistic belief that force is the only language natives understand. I found the clash between idealism and realism superbly portrayed, a clash generated by the inevitable dilemmas of imperial expansion of which A passage to India is another example, although the present mini-series has a more documentaristic approach and refers to French rather than to British imperialism.Recommended.
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