Screening the ‘invisible war’
in Algerian national cinema
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In Algeria the 1990s are known as 'the black decade', a period of widespread terror and trauma. The cultural historian Benjamin Stora has called the black decade a war without images, 'an invisible war' fought within a 'culture of silence'. A key concern of the films made after the end of the 'invisible war' is to make it visible. In L'Arche du désert, for example, a young boy flees an oasis where the villagers have been massacred to walk, right-to-left, into the desert. And in Rachida, a young female teacher is determined to teach again after an attack on her village. Finally, in Barakat!, evokes an eternal space, whose existence allows one to think beyond the temporal frame of the conflict. In 2004, the year of Bouteflika's first controversial re-election, Belkacem Hadjadj's film Al-Manara places a female protagonist at the centre of an account of the black decade.

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