Algeria on Screen: Society, Politics, and Culture in the Films of Merzak Allouache

by Nabil Boudraa


Algeria is, without a doubt, one of the most complex societies of the modern world. This country is known for its ancient history, its multilingualism, its multiethnic social fabric, its glorious War of Independence, its leadership for Third World movements in the 1960s, and its tragic “Dark Decade” of the 1990s. To date, no filmmaker has depicted this Algerian complexity better than Merzak Allouache. He has devoted his entire filmmaking career, spanning over forty years, to a lucid portrayal of this complex and yet fascinating nation.

This study explains how Allouache broke away from state-run cinema to create an original style that makes him both unique and extremely interesting. Through an in-depth analysis of his films and documentaries, this book offers both contextual background and insightful perspectives to help the readers better understand this complexity which characterizes Algeria.

This is the first study in any language that examines Merzak Allouache’s entire filmography and it sheds light on most, if not all, the intriguing cultural, political and social changes that the Algerian people have been facing since independence in 1962. By making Algerian society the focal point in most of his films, Allouache provides a provocative commentary on social, historical, political, economic, linguistic, religious, and gender issues.

Algeria on Screen: Society, Politics, and Culture in the Films of Merzak Allouache is an important book for North African studies, French studies and Cinema studies.


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