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Films in French

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DAUGHTER OF KELTOUM (La Fille de Keltoum)
Director: Mehdi Charef
Algeria   |   2001   |   106 minutes
Arabic and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis A young woman, Rallia, raised in Switzerland, travels to an isolated and barren Berber settlement located in the rocky Atlas Mountains of Algeria. Rallia's journey is one of multi-tiered discovery in terms of her relationship to her extended family, traditional Berber culture, and her desperate need to locate her biological mother. Through her eyes, the viewer is immersed in a world virtually untouched by contemporary society, one that still clings to tribal mores and strict religious codes of conduct. Mehdi Charef skillfully captures the windswept vistas of a faraway mountain range with wide camera angles that frame the harsh environs and the desperate daily search for water, the responsibility of the resilient women of the Berber tribe.

About the Director Mehdi Charef was born in 1952 in Maghnia, Algeria, where he lived until his family left in the early 1960s to live in France, where he was trained as a mechanic and worked in a factory. In 1983, his first novel Le Thé au Harem d'Archimíde ("Tea in the Harem") was published. The book was soon optioned by filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras and made into a film, winning a Cesar, the Jean Vigo and SOS Racisme prizes, the Silver Hugo in Chicago, and the Special Jury Prize at the Madrid International Film Festival. Charef's films, La Maison d'Alexina (1999) and Pigeon vole (1996), were adapted from his novels of the same name. Medhi Charef currently lives in France and continues his work as a novelist and filmmaker.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2005 film series.


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KABALA
Director: Assane Kouyaté
Mali   |   2002   |   112 minutes
Bambara, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Magic spells lend a helping hand in this debut feature about a young man's troubled relationship with his native village in Mali. Because of ancient prejudices, Hamalla was banished. He returns four years later versed in modern technology at a time the village's future is precarious because the holy well of the ancestors, symbol of the spirituality of the entire community, is contaminated. In the face of epidemic, the villagers resist all of Hamalla's attempts to convince them of the need to purify the water. Assane Kouyaté's poetic vision cleverly bridges the film's themes of the necessity of accepting technology, while at the same time leaves no doubt of the power of traditional ways.

About the Director Assane Kouyaté was born in Bamako, Mali, in 1954. After a postgraduate degree in French studies, he obtained a diploma from The Moscow Film Institute (VGIK) in 1989. His graduate film, Thérese and Patrick, received acclaim at the Tashkent Film Festival, Uzbekistan. In 1994, after completing several documentaries and advertising films, Kouyaté was a cast member in Zéka Lapaine's film, Macadam Tribe (1994) , and from 1998 through 2000 he served as the assistant director for Aphrodita by the Argentine filmmaker Pablo Caesar.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2005 film series.

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RACHIDA
Director: Yamina Bachir-Chouikh
Algeria   |   2002   |   100 minutes
Arabic and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Algeria’s official submission to the 2002 Academy Awards

Synopsis The first-full length feature film bu Yaminda Bachir-Choikh evokes memories of the worst atrocities of the terror in Algeria. The forces of violence and ignorance erode but don't conquer decency and enlightenment in Rachida, the story of a vivacious young schoolteacher who refuses to buckle under intimidation, despite her anguish at living under the constant threat of terror in unexpected places. The film also highlights the corruption of an education system that has become the breeding ground of a culture of hatred.

About the director Yamina Bachir-Chouikh was born in 1954 in Algiers, and entered the film industry as an editor and scriptwriter. Her feature debut is Rachida.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2004 film series.

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IN THE BATTLEFIELDS (Dans les Champs de Bataille)
Director: Danielle Arbid
Lebanon   |   2004   |   90 minutes
Arabic and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Daughter of self-destructive parents, Lina, 12, doesn’t show much interest in the war taking place around her in 1980’s Beirut. Instead, Siham, her aunt’s beautiful adolescent maid, is the focal point of her rebellious and neglected childhood. As the basis for the girls’ relationship shifts, issues of loyalty and power set off a series of events, which isolate Lina even more. Unlike films in which the violence of an urban war zone motivate a family to strengthen their ties, in this film, director Danielle Arbid depicts, instead, relationships that are shattered by passion, reprisal and guilt.

About the Director Danielle Arbid was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1970. She studied literature and journalism in Paris, and worked for several years as a journalist. Her short films include, Raddem (Demolition, 1998) and Le Passeur (1999). Her documentaries include Alone with War (2000), On the Borders (2002) and Stranger (2002). In the Battlefields is Arbid’s first feature film.

Featured in the Global Lens 2006 film series.



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KILOMETRE ZERO
Director: Hiner Saleem
Iraqi Kurdistan and France   |   2005   |   96 minutes
Arabic, French and Kurdish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis A story of ethnic conflict between Kurds and Iraqis in the context of the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. The central story of the film is set at a time when Kurds were conscripted to serve in the Iraqi army, where they were brutally abused, as a despised minority in Saddam Hussein's military. Kilometre Zero pairs a Kurdish soldier, under orders to return the body of a dead soldier to his family, with an Iraqi taxi driver who will drive them cross-country to the dead soldier's home. Scenes between the men, in the close quarters of their truck, are interwoven with scenes of often comic incompetence of Iraqi soldiers and officers.

About the Director Hiner Saleem was born in Acna, Iraqi Kurdistan, in 1954. He fled to Italy by way of Syria in 1971, to escape the oppression of Saddam Hussein, and has lived in Paris for the past ten years. He is a fervent advocate for the rights of the Kurdish people, and regards April 9, 2003, the day of the fall of Saddam Hussein, as the most beautiful day of his life. Saleem was honored as Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the government of France in 2005. His films include Beyond Our Dreams (2000), and Vodka Lemon (2003), for which he won the Contro Corrente Grand Prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. His Long Live the Bride...and the Liberation of Kurdistan (1997) won the prize for best script at the Angers Film Festival. Kilometre Zero (2005) was selected for competition at the Festival Cannes 2005.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2007 film series.


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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
Director: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Morocco   |   2006   |   94 minutes
Arabic and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Souad is a prostitute whose best friend is Kenza, a tough traffic cop. Kamel is a stony-eyed contract killer who receives his hit orders via the Internet; he is also Souad's favorite customer. When Kenza falls in love with Kamel, the two begin a bizarre courtship doomed by their disparate lines of work, and a persistent cyber-snooping hacker who stumbles upon the site where Kamel receives his murderous contracts. Moroccan actor-director Faouzi Bensaïdi's promiscuously stylish film is a new vision of an old culture, unveiling an uncommon Casablanca caught in a world wide web of associations and consequences.

About the Director Faouzi Bensaïdi was born in Meknes, Morocco in 1967. After studying at the Rabat Institute of Dramatic Art, he began his career directing for the stage, and in 1997, he directed his first short film, The Cliff. His two subsequent shorts, The Wall and The Rain Line, won prizes at the Cannes International Film Festival, and the Venice International Film Festival. His first feature film, A Thousand Months, premiered in 2003. What a Wonderful World is his second feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2009 film series.

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ENOUGH! (Barakat!)
Director: Djamila Sahraoui
Algeria, France   |   2006   |   94 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Set in war-torn Algeria in the 1990s, Enough! follows two women on the dangerous search for the younger woman's husband, a journalist whose writings resulted in his disappearance. Both women represent anachronisms in Islamist Algeria: the younger woman is a doctor, the older a nurse with vivid memories of Algeria's fight for independence. Ignoring curfews and the constant threat of ambush by armed militias, the two women challenge the men they encounter to accept them and help them with their search. Their journey leads them across the picturesque landscapes of Algeria, to a deeper understanding of how their lives were shaped by their country's history.

About the Director Djamila Sahraoui was born in Algeria in 1950, and has lived in France since 1975. After studying literature in Algeria, she studied filmmaking at l'IDHEC in Paris. Her early short films include Houria (1980), Avoir 2000 ans dans les Aurès (1990), and Prénom Marianne (1992). Sahraoui's documentaries, La Moitié du ciel d'Allah (1995), Algérie, la vie quand même (1998) and Algérie, la vie toujours (2001), explore conditions in Algeria during the decade of civil war. She was awarded the Villa Médicis Hors les Murs prize in 1997. Enough! is her first feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2007 film series.


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GREY MATTER (Matière Grise)
Director: Kivu Ruhorahoza
Rwanda   |   2011   |   100 minutes
Kinyarwanda and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Set in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, this radiantly self-referential film-within-a-film describes the vision and trials of a determined filmmaker named Balthazar, as he tries to produce his first feature, The Cycle of the Cockroach. The trenchant drama, about a brother and sister dealing with the aftermath of genocide, finds no support from agencies only interested in funding upbeat policy-friendly films. As Balthazar borrows recklessly from a loan shark, the Cycle plays out on the screen, subtly measuring the horror and systematic madness of events hardly unique to Rwanda, while offering bracing insight into the nature of political violence.


About the Director Kivu Ruhorahoza was born in Kigali, Rwanda in 1982. A self-taught filmmaker, he won the award for Best African Short at Montreal’s 25th Pan African International Film Festival and Best Short at the Kenya International Film Festival in 2009 for his short film, Lost in the South. He has also produced an experimental documentary, Rwanda 15, with New York saxophonist Jeremy Danneman for the Parade of One project. Grey Matter is his first feature film and the first feature-length narrative film produced in Rwanda by a native Rwandan filmmaker.


Available Screening Formats DVD, Digibeta.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2012 film series.

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