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Report: France - Culture

Film examines life in Algeria after independence

© Hassan Mezine
Text by: Colette Davidson
3 min

A special week of events to discuss anti-colonialism has ended in Paris with arts exhibitions and debates to discuss the colonialism that still exists around the world today. RFI went along and spoke to the directors of a film - Algérie Tours Détours - about life in Algeria after it won its independence from France.

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It’s September 2004. Two young documentary film directors accompany René Vautier – considered the father of Algerian cinema – from France to Algeria.

Leila Morouche and Oraine Brun-Mosketti say their trip, and their subsequent film Algérie Tours Détours, touched on many aspects of life in Algeria after it won independence from France in 1962. Morouche says their goal was to show life in Algeria post colonisation.

"We don’t have just one point, one goal. It’s about René Vautier; it’s also about the state of cinema in Algeria, and it’s also a portrait of Algerian people, about their way of life...talk about what they feel, what they want to do in their own country, what is difficult to do also," Morouche says.

The film was shown in Paris this weekend as part of anti-colonialism week, a festival that included theatre, lectures, film, art and debates around the Paris area.

The goal? To discuss instances of colonialism which still exist around the world, in an attempt to put an end to domination of cultural groups, discrimination and racism.

The director of La Clef cinema, Raphael Vion, says the film Algérie Tours Détours fit perfectly within the festival.

"For me, anti-colonialism week is a way to contextualise what colonialism has become today. That’s why it’s interesting to show this film as well as films from other eras. We don’t talk about colonialism or colonies anymore, and we want to finally discuss it through cinema."

René Vautier at the video club
René Vautier at the video club © Hassan Mezine

While the festival touched on instances of racism and colonialism from Palestine to Zambia to Tibet, directors Morouche and Brun-Mosketti say when it comes to France, Algeria is the single biggest example of colonialism.

"There is a deep link between France and Algeria, and our film tries to explain the relationship between these two countries 30 or 40 years after independence," Morouche says.

"The relationship between France and Algeria was very different. Algeria was three departments of France, so there was a big problem because people living there were not French. I mean, they didn’t have the same rights as French people, and so it was like a very big segregation. [After] the war, it was not anymore a country colonised by France, but we have a lot of difficulties here and there about history," Brun-Mosketti explains.

Morouche and Brun-Mosketti went to Algeria with the goal of bringing their images and interviews back to France, to show what life is really like in Algeria today.

But how were these young female, French directors received when they told people they were making a film about life there?

"In Algeria, they were just touched by the way that we wanted to make something with them. They were like, ‘Oh cool, you made this trip to meet us, it’s wonderful.’," Morouche says.

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