2014, Thu, Mar 27

La Zerda et les chants de l'oubli

D: Assia Djebar

Algeria after 1954 – Cinematic reflections | La Zerda et les Chants de l'Oubli, film still | © Promo

Algeria after 1954 – Cinematic reflections | La Zerda et les Chants de l'Oubli, film still | © Promo

Algeria 1978–1982, 60 min, German subtitles

Assia Djebar on the subject of her film, the first in Algerian cinema by a female director: “Photographers and filmmakers streamed into a completely subjugated and silenced Maghreb to capture us on film. … Supposedly, they came to us to record the ‘Zerda,’ this celebration that’s slowly dying out…” The multiple-award-winning writer and filmmaker pieces together the foreign gaze of the colonial masters – with a result that is revealing, critical and bitter. In the soundtrack, which she also conceived, anonymous voices and poems can be heard, along with intervening “songs of forgetting.” In the early 1980s, with this poetic film essay, Djebar created a new way of understanding Algerian history.

Special prize for best historical film at the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival.