Algeria

Tariq Teguia – Thwara Zanj AKA Zanj Revolution AKA Revolution Zendj (2013)

PLOT
During the “Arab sprig” an Algerian journalist (Ibn Battutâ) researches the history of the Zanj revolution, from IX century. On his path he mets a young Palestinian student (Nahla). Read More »

Mounia Meddour – Papicha (2019)

Synopsis:
Algiers, 1997. The country is in the hands of terrorist groups, seeking to establish an Islamic and archaic state. Women are particularly affected and oppressed by primitive diktas, who seek to take control of their bodies and control their passage through the public space. While a frenzied hunt for women unveiled is launched, Nedjma, a young student passionate about fashion, is determined to federate the girls of her campus to organize a fashion show braving all the forbidden. Read More »

Gillo Pontecorvo – La battaglia di Algeri AKA The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Quote:
The most electrifyingly timely movie playing in New York was made in 1965. Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers is famous, but for some time it’s been available only in washed-out prints with poorly translated, white-on-white subtitles. The newly translated and subtitled 35-millimeter print at Film Forum is presumably the version that was privately screened in August for military personnel by the Pentagon as a field guide to fighting terrorism. Former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski volunteered this blurb: “If you want to understand what’s happening right now in Iraq, I recommend The Battle of Algiers.” I wonder if these politicos are aware that Pontecorvo’s epic was once used by the Black Panthers as a training film? In fact, not much in the current Iraq situation is historically comparable to the late-fifties Algerian struggle for independence dramatized in The Battle of Algiers, but its anatomy of terror remains unsurpassed—and, woefully, ever fresh. Read More »

Assia Djebar – La zerda ou Les chants de l’oubli AKA The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetting (1983)

This film essay pieces together various photographs and footage of the Zerda ceremony from colonial archives, with anonymous poetic voiceovers recounting the lived experiences of indigenous Algerians. This pairing examines the contrast between the foreign perspective and the reality of the lives being viewed from that perspective, and the soundtrack is interspersed with “songs of forgetting” to recognize traditions that are being lost to colonialism even as they are tokenized by and subjugated to the colonial gaze. Read More »

Mohamed Chouikh – El kalaa AKA The Citadel (1989)

Synopsis:
Set in a rugged little Algerian mountain village, in a moslem culture, where male and female society works under a strongly patriarchal controlling influence. Insensitive and brutish Sidi has three wives, one-near suicide, and an adoptive son whom he beats and intends to force into a farcical marriage. Simple-minded Kaddour cannot find a bride and is eventually married to a mannequin dummy… Read More »

Yamina Bachir – Rachida (2002)

Rachida lives and teaches in a popular neighborhood in Argel. Like most of her countrymen, she thinks the conflict which is bleeding out her country does not affect her, until the day she is confronted by a group of terrorists that includes a former student of hers, Sofiane. The group asks her to plant a bomb in her school. When she refuses, the terrorists shoot her in cold blood. She saves her life miraculously and takes refuge in a nearby village. Read More »

Rayhana Obermeyer – À mon âge je me cache encore pour fumer AKA I Still Hide to Smoke (2016)

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Quote:
Fatima, a strong-minded woman, is the lead masseuse of a hammam in Algiers. This is 1995 and the situation is tense in the capital. The day ahead promises to be hectic for all, and for Fatima in particular. Already, while walking to her place of work, she is the distant witness of a terrorist attack. At the hammam, Fatima should feel better, but the atmosphere proves electric in her small enclosed world, she has great difficulty in maintaining order. All the more as Meriem, a sixteen-year-old pregnant girl comes to take shelter at the hammam. And as irate brother, Mohamed, is after her to cleanse his honor in blood. Written by Guy Bellinger Read More »