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Roundabout in My Head

Spring Grant 2015 - Post-Production Stage

Hassen Ferhani / Feature Experimental or Essay / Algeria, France, Lebanon, Netherlands, Qatar / 2015 / 100 min / Colour / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Creative Documentary


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.


Hassen Ferhani
Hassen Ferhani
Narimane Mari
Production Company
Allers Retours Films Narimane Mari & Centrale Electrique Olivier Boischot
Production Company
Allers Retours Films

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.

Awards and Festival History


Film Society Lincoln Center, Art of the Real
Helsinki Documentary Film Festival 2016
LatinArab Film Festival 2016, Arab Features
Curitiba International Film Festival 2016
Luxor African International Film Festival 2016
Goteborg Film Festival 2016


Grand Prix and GNCR Prize Special Mention, FID Marseille 2015 (WP)
Special Jury Award for First Appearance, IDFA 2015
CAMIRA Prize and Audience Award, Festival International du film Entrevues Belftort 2015
Tanit d'Or for Best Documentary and Tanit d'Or


  • Director

    Hassen Ferhani

  • Main Contact

    Narimane Mari

    Centrale Eclectrique

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