Guy Austin
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After ‘Black October’
Mourning and melancholia
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The events of October 1988 form a watershed in recent Algerian history. Known as Black October, this was the moment when popular trust in the state, eroded for years, finally collapsed. Alienated by state corruption and secrecy, frustrated with massive unemployment and failing economic policies, thousands of young demonstrators took to the streets to protest. Black October was in effect 'the bleeding white of the future', a moment of rupture that fed resentment against the state and facilitated the rise of the Front islamique du salut (FIS), culminating in the suspended elections of December 1991 that triggered civil conflict. Youcef, Bab El-Oued City and Rome plutôt que vous present differing visions of how a Freudian melancholia in the shadow of a crushed revolt might relate to Algerian experience after Black October. All three films of the Algerian cinema also signal the possibilities of postcolonial melancholia.

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