The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetting
(La Zerda et les chants de l’oubli)
Soraya Tlatli is associate professor, Department of French, UC Berkeley, and a specialist on Francophone literature from North Africa, as well as colonial and postcolonial historiography.
Celebrated feminist Algerian novelist and filmmaker Djebar (1936–2015, a.k.a. Fatima-Zohra Imalayen) revisits the colonization of the Maghreb in this experimental work. Drawn from French newsreels from 1912–42, the film employs montage to search for the truth and reveal the resistance behind the mask across this thirty-year period, when the subjugated people were condemned to silence. The soundtrack brings together multivocal chants and avant-garde music to form a furious swan song to colonial violence.
Ahmed Lallem, Algeria, 1966
Filmed only four years after Algeria won its independence, The Women records the burning questions and visions of the future expressed by young Algerian women, many still in high school, as they embark on a new chapter in their country’s history.