Algerian cinema has long been appreciated in the French-speaking world. In Germany, however, it remains largely unknown, despite its high quality and its outstanding directors and actors. Sixty years after the start of the Algerian war of independence, the festival’s feature and documentary films trace Algeria’s political and cinematic lines of development. Productions from the last seven years, comprising the majority of the selected films, attest to the intensity with which Algeria continues to grapple with issues of colonialism, the war of liberation, and the 1990s civil war with Islamists and the military. At the same time, the films undertake a critical analysis of the current political and social situation of this country, which did not experience an “Arab Spring.”
The opening film leads straight to the heart of today’s Algeria: “La preuve” (The Proof), an impressive drama about destructive conflicts around traditional roles, premiered three months ago in Dubai to great acclaim. In contrast, Rachid Bouchareb, whose new production was screened just weeks ago in the Berlinale competition, revisits the time of the war of independence against colonial France in “Hors la loi” (Outside the Law). The cinematic reflexions on ALGERIA AFTER 1954 also include such milestones of the country’s cinematic history as Assia Djebar’s “La Zerda et les chants de l’oubli” (La Zerda und die Gesänge des Vergessens), Algeria’s first film by a female director, and Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina’s “Chronique des années de braise” (The Chronicle of the Years of Embers), the only Arab film to have received the Palme d’Or in Cannes.
As always at HKW, dialog is key. Accordingly, directors from Algeria will be present for debates and discussions. Among others, they will be in Berlin: Safinez Bousbia, Amor Hakkar, Malik Lakhdar-Hamina, Karim Moussaoui and Saïd Ould Khelifa.
Festival curator Ahmed Bedjaoui, film critic, professor of film studies at the University of Algiers, and a central figure in Algerian cinema over the last 40 years, will be in attendance.
For detailed program information please visit: www.hkw.de/algeria