Checks and Balances

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Stranger Says:

The best film in the festival’s 2014 African Pictures section was certainly Merzak Allouache’s The Rooftops. This year, it just might be Malek Bensmail’s Checks and Balances. Both are set in the beautiful seaside city of Algiers, Algeria’s capital. The Rooftops, however, is a feature film, and Checks and Balances is not. It is instead an impressively crafted documentary about El Watan, a French-speaking pro-democracy newspaper. We get to see the reporters argue about their beliefs, editors plan for issues, and editorial meetings where the day’s events are analyzed and opinions exchanged. Everyone who works for a newspaper in Seattle should see this documentary. It will give us all some much-needed perspective. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
by Charles Mudede
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Malek Bensmaïl
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