F.: Xavier Dolleans. Prod.: Béatrice Jalbert per Les Films de la Passion. DCP. D.: 76’. Bn e Col.
On the 23rd January 1965, my mother and I were fleeing from a devastated Constantine to become pied noir in a hostile and unknown land. At the same time, the Algerian Cinémathèque, founded by Jean-Michel Arnold, the spiritual son of Henri Langlois, came into being under the direction of Mahieddine Moussaoui, an exponent of Algerian independence and a stimulus for its cultural politics. The whole of Algeria ran to see films and get to know the likes of von Sternberg, Losey, Godard, Nicholas Ray, Chabrol, Visconti, Chahine, Herzog, Sembene Ousmane, Mustapha Alassane, Med Hondo and many others. Jean-Michel Arnold left Algiers in 1970, after the pan-African Festival. But Bougdemâa Kareche carried on his task of conserving and disseminating Arab and African cinema until 2004.
With a free and rebellious spirit, cineastes took ownership of this place in which Art and Culture echoed out like a call to dream, addressed to the entire world. Films like Mohamed Zinet’s Taya Ya Didou and Mohamed Bouamari’s Le Charbonnier announced the arrival of the rigorous aesthetic of the new-born Algerian cinema, hot on the heels of Mustapha Badie’s La Nuit a peur du soleil.
In 2015 the Algerian Film Archive celebrated its 150th anniversary. “After many years of waiting, Algeria, take me in your arms. This happiness, this barely perceptible joy cancels out all these long years of waiting… As a second name, my parents had given me the name Messaouda. Messaouda, the other part of me, the light that I was missing. In this journey towards faces that are familiar, even if sometimes far removed from me. I’m coming home, to follow my ghosts”.