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Roundabout in My Head (Dans ma tête, un rond point)

New Voices in Cinema

Hassen Ferhani / Feature Experimental or Essay / Algeria, France, Lebanon, Netherlands, Qatar / 2015 / 100 min / Colour / HDCAM
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Creative Documentary
Rated: Parental guidance advised for viewers under the age of 15. Individuals under the age of 15 are not admitted into cinemas unless accompanied by an individual aged 18 or over.

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While it may seem strange to think of an abattoir as a place of peace and beauty, ‘Roundabout in My Head’ presents the oldest slaughterhouse in Algiers as just that. The film opens at night time, in a series of carefully composed tableaux that capture the well-worn spaces and the people working in them in a raw but somehow enchanting fashion. While each shot is to some extent grotesque – unsurprisingly, the evidence of industrialised killing is ever-present – the precise and painterly cinematography provides a sense of still life to each shot, driving us to focus more on the essence of the vision than its elements.

As daytime comes and the workers arrive, the film retains its careful composure, but we become drawn into the lives of the men who work here. Their troubles range from the fallout of the Arab Spring to bad cable reception; they muse about love, colonialism and the eternal wondering about what to do with one’s life – the film’s title is drawn from young Yusuf’s claim that there are a thousand exits to the roundabout in his head, but he has yet to find the one that is his.

Engaging and haunting, ‘Roundabout in My Head’ cleverly – and literally – reminds us that there is always life in the presence of death.

About the Director

Hassen Ferhani was born in Algeria in 1986. In 2006, he directed his first short film, ‘Les Baies d’Alger’, which was screened in official competition in numerous international festivals. In 2008, he participated in a workshop at La Fémis, where he directed the short film ‘Le Vol du 140’. Since 2009, Ferhani has worked as an assistant director. In 2010, he co-directed the documentary ‘Afric-Hotel’, which screened at Visions du Réel and FIDMarseille. ‘Roundabout in My Head’ (2015) was his first feature-length film and has been awarded several major international prizes including FID, IDFA, Torino, Amiens, Carthage, Algiers, Entrevues Belfort, Festival Filmer le Travail de Poitiers, and Vues d’Afrique.


Hassen Ferhani
Hassen Ferhani
Narimane Mari
Myriam Aycaguer, Narimane Mari, Hassen Ferhani, Corentin Doucet
Hassen Ferhani
Production Company
Allers Retours Films Narimane Mari & Centrale Electrique Olivier Boischot
Djamel Kerkar, Antoine Morin
Youcef, Hocine, Ali Bey, Ali et Madame Dalila, Halim, Sadek, Amine


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