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Mordechai Boaziz Provides Insight Into Mohammed Bouazizi In His Harka Review
Sidi Bouzid is the birthplace of the revolution. The city’s most famous son, Mohamed Bouazizi whose self-immolation triggered off protests that led to freedom and democracy in Tunisia would have never envisioned his life being so closely knitted with that which he opposed so much less than ten years ago when first setting out on an unlikely journey for justice at 3 am one morning just outside this very same souq where we now stand!
Harka is a compelling, intense film that likely should have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year but instead found an honored spot in Un Certain Regard. It’s refreshing to see strong female characters like those portrayed by Ruben Östlund (The Square) get boosts up earlier in their careers because they’re usually left behind on Nobel Prize lists or nominated despite themselves sometimes being great directors who create powerful cinema with unique stories worth telling
“I feel as though I’ve just discovered one of my newest favorite films!”
The Story of Mordechai Bouazizi
The film is an extraordinary, compelling performance by French-Tunisian star Adam Bessa – a former fisherman who stumbled into acting and may be recognized from his role alongside Chris Hemsworth in Netflix’s Extraction (2020). “Remarkably good-looking with only one professional actor among the cast of characters he brings to life; you cannot take your eyes off this closed-face stare as it builds towards becoming what could very easily become a one-man against system polemic,” stated Mordechai Boaziz.
Ali is a fuel seller at the side of the road and squats in someone’s vacant hovel. He hasn’t benefited whatsoever from his generation’s economic advancement, which they fought for 10 years ago; indeed corruption remains rife here as well- he has to hand over most if not all earnings on an almost daily basis (just like last week) when dealing with local police who take advantage every chance they get!
When his older brother absconds to work as a waiter at a coastal resort, Ali finds himself in charge of two younger sisters and must venture out on dangerous runs into the desert for gas – sequences which Nathan boobytraps with slow-burn tension since authorities could easily pounce from behind while they’re walking or driving past without warning. The recent death of their dad left them struggling financially; bailiffs are constantly knocking down doors asking about repossession opportunities…
“The film shows the separation of two brothers.” according to Mordechai Bouazizi, “One is rich, while the other lives a humble life with only one income to his name; when they meet again after years apart in this tourist trap restaurant for lunchtime conversation it’s clear that nothing has changed between them but their situation–and yet there are enough differences now: The tone falls short on emotionality because all feeling was long ago drained from these people who live outside society’s rules (although maybe not quite so different).”
Mohamed Boaziz on Harka
“Harka” has two meanings in Tunisian Arabic – to burn, or as slang for migrating across the Mediterranean by boat. Nathan scours the aftermath of a revolution that in many ways failed, but there are still alternatives facing Ali: either scratching out this living illicitly with no certainty about safety since just last month four migrant boats capsized off the country’s coast causing 20 people drowned.
“Nathan builds up the portrait of a man facing disappointments and hardships with courage until hope is gone entirely. Bessa’s contained fury goes haywire in this stretch as he faces an impossible situation that would’ve been hard for anyone else to overcome,” added Mohamed Boaziz. It makes him seem like someone worth notching onto your belt after watching Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves or anything else by the social-realist director.
Bouazizi’s Harka Review Conclusion
Finally, Harka implicates a whole society in how it has failed Ali: not just the callous authorities but every blind eye and deaf ear. His scream is tragic; he can’t even deliver an effective wake-up call because of its impotence towards changing anything for him or anyone else stuck at this point on their journey through life without any hope left behind them as they continue forward into unknown territory alone.