Their Algeria

  • Lina Soualem
  • France, Switzerland, Qatar, Algeria
  • 2020
  • 73 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

After 62 years of marriage, the French-Algerian couple Aïcha and Mabrouk decide to separate. They exchange their old family home for two adjacent apartments—because of course Aïcha still takes her ex-husband food every day. She wants to enjoy the time she has left, she explains at her kitchen table in the few moments that she isn’t laughing shyly. Her granddaughter Lina is baffled by the separation, and in this film she goes in search of answers.

Fortunately, her own father—the well-known French actor Zinedine Soualem—knows more about the life of Mabrouk, who came to the town of Thiers in the Auvergne in the late 1950s as a teenager to work in the knife factory. Aïcha followed her husband, with whom she had an arranged marriage at the age of fifteen. Their aim was to return to Algeria, but “no one said we had to leave,” Mabrouk says. This intimate family story sheds a personal light on the impact of French colonization, as well as the consequences of immigration and displacement, the pride in being an Algerian, and a longing for family and the village back home, which they in fact hardly know.

Credits

  • 73 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: French, Arabic
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Lina Soualem
Production
Marie Balducchi / AGAT Films & Cie
Co-production
Making of Films, Akka Films, Doha Film Institute
Cinematography
Lina Soualem
Editing
Gladys Joujou

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