After the Fire ★★★★ TIFF 2023

After the Fire ★★★★ TIFF 2023

An engrossing feature debut from Mehdi Fikri, After the Fire, is a deliberate and powerful drama that times its moments perfectly. It purposely leaves a sour taste in your mouth while leaving you with hope – an incredibly striking film.

In the aftermath of a crime, a young Arab living in the immigrant French suburb of Strasbourg and known for being a drug user dies in police custody, which leads to his family seeking answers and rioting on the streets.

In a story that we have perhaps seen far too often to be remotely comfortable with, we see Malika brush aside a phone call from her brother about their younger sibling being arrested again for his drug use. It is not until that second, more panicked call where she is told to go to the hospital that a shiver sneaks down her spine. One of sadly countless instances, we soon watch as the lies unravel before us in a manner that all too closely feels realistic.

With more rightful scrutiny than ever on the attitudes and brutality of police officers toward the public, After the Fire comes at the most opportune and perfect time. It is a film that illustrates the level of police have gone, and some will continue to go to cover their tracks when they have overstepped their duty. However, it is not just police brutality and cover-ups that After the Fire points its gaze at; it also gives us a clear picture of the omnipresent racism that the Arab community in France, Europe and beyond encounter daily.

Camélia Jordana is extraordinary here in After the Fire, juggling being a good daughter to her family and keeping to their wishes whilst also trying to be a good activist. To keep her brother relevant (something that is such a terrible thing to say after someone has been murdered by those who are meant to protect. She must ensure that she raises the funds for a lawyer so that she can keep the pressure on these corrupt institutions, if not for her generation, but her own children’s. She is getting pulled in every direction, and Jordana nails it with her struggle. You are so wrapped up in the force of her performance here that you will be searching for her other work immediately.

Filmmaker Mehdi Fikri picks and chooses his moments to rile his audience into a ball of rage and anguish for the grieving family. He bides his time throughout After the Fire, but with each instance, your anger builds to bursting point before he tempers it back down again. It is very smart filmmaking as, despite these waves of moments he has structured into his film, there is almost methodical reasoning behind it. Much like what the family endure here in the film, these are real examples of instances that have occurred; it all feels too specific, pulling you in even more.

While this story centres on one family’s experiences from the police, press and public, this is not about Karim, Malika, or their family. This is about the systematic racism deep-seated in many of our institutions. These are situations countless find themselves in. It certainly and horribly will not end here. We have learned that from the endless cases with national and even worldwide notoriety. Yet, more and more keeps pouring out of the woodwork. It is an uphill struggle that Fikri is not afraid to tackle.

After the Fire forces you to see what some may want to accept, that some people meant to protect are all too willing to do the opposite. While giving victims a platform to show what has happened to them or their loved ones is painful for everyone involved, it is necessary. Fikri never hesitates and knows where the real battle is in this fight. So, he shines that light heavily on the ground, where activists can take another step forward. For a feature debut, it is a strong one. Memorable and pointed, After the Fire is a social commentary that packs one hell of a punch and is a film not to miss.


For more coverage of TIFF 2023 please check out our reviews below:




Modern Goose

Boil Alert

Homecoming (Máhccan)

Support Us

I am but a small website in this big wide world. As much as I would love to make this website a big and wonderful entity. That would bring in more costs. So, for now all I hope is to make Upcoming On Screen self-sufficient. Well enough to where any website fees are less of a worry for me in the future. You can support the website below…

Buy Us A Coffee

Our other method if through the wonderful Buy us a Coffee feature, but seeing as we are not the biggest fans of coffee, a pizza will do! We keep it fairly small change on that as well and it allows you to give just a one off payment, so no need to worry about that monthly malarky! We even have a little icon on the website for you to find it and help us out with the running of the website.


You can support us in a variety of ways (other than that wonderful word of mouth) and those lovely follows. If you are so inclined to help out then you can support us via Patreon, find our link here! We don’t want to ask much from you, so for now we have limited our tiers to £1.50 and £3.50. These will of course grow the more we plan to do here at Upcoming On Screen.

Social Media

You can also support us via Twitter and Facebook by giving us a follow and a like. Every one helps!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: