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Their Algeria

Leur Algérie
Lina Soualem
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
70 minutes

After 62 years of marriage Aïcha Soualem is on her own again. Mabrouk, whom she has left, is nevertheless supplied by her daily with food and sugar cubes. Director Lina Soualem is interested in the relationship between her grandparents, who, as the last remaining Algerians in Thiers, France, look back on an eventful past. An empathic investigation all the way back to their native village of Laaouamer which leaves room for ambiguous emotions.

“Soualem” is the password which not only enables Lina Soualem to unlock the tiny, snow-covered village full of cousins in Algeria, which her grandparents left a long time ago. In a sense, “Soualem” is also the title of this gentle investigation of a granddaughter. And Laaouamer, that little place in Algeria, is only the final destination of a long journey which may be narrated via geographical coordinates but interweaves them closely with biographical and emotional ones. Aïcha and Mabrouk rarely talk about themselves. Instead, self-affixed wall badges speak: “The world’s best mom lives here” or “Welcome to the world’s best grandma’s”. To learn more about the couple, whose lives were shaped by French colonialism, Lina Soualem uses private photos and videos. Her investigation is full of love: persistent, but never prying.
Carolin Weidner

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lina Soualem
Marie Balducchi
Karima Chouikh
Palmyre Badinier
Anna Berthollet
Gladys Joujou
Julie Tribout
Rémi Durel
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
Family Ties
Rural vs. Urban
Liebe/ ohne Liebe
Small Worlds, Big People
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