Checks and Balances


Sunday, 10/2 at St. Anthony Main Theatre
1:10 p.m.

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Checks and Balances / ضدّ القوّى

Malek Bensmaïl
documentary feature / politics / media
96 mins / 2015
Arabic / French with English subtitles
Minnesota premiere

Checks and Balances follows journalists from the famous daily Algerian newspaper El Watan as they wait for the completion of their new offices, a symbol of their independence. At the same time, Algeria is in the midst of the 2014 presidential election, where incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeks a fourth term in office. The film captures the events in the newsroom as well as the media coverage of this tense political moment in the country. Ideological differences between reporters become part of the film’s narrative, presenting the audience with a look into the process of deciding what counts as news.


Festivals and Awards
*Seattle International Film Festival, USA, 2016
*Festival del Film Locarno, Switzerland, 2015
*Viennale, Vienna International Film Festival, Austria, 2015
*International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015

Malek Bensmaïl was born in Constantine, Algeria and studied film in Paris and Saint Petersburg. He has made several documentaries: Territoire(s) (1996), Vacances Malgré Tout (2001), which won the Prix du Patrimoine de l’Immatériel at Festival Cinéma du Réel, and Aliénations (2004), which won the Prix des bibliothèques at the Festival Cinéma du Réel. In 2009, he directed La Chine est Encore Loin, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Festival des 3 Continents in Nantes.


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