Guy Austin
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Memory and identity
From lost sites to reclaimed images
in Algerian national cinema
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A loss of identity and a sense of dispossession are two related and painful threads that run through modern Algerian history. Dispossessed in a variety of ways, predominantly uprooted from rural communities in the massive urbanisation that followed independence, Algerian audiences are offered a return to the land, to memory and history by the cinema of Hakkar and Mokneche. Viva Laldjérie presents the struggle of both Papicha and Goucem to reach a form of individuation that acknowledges but moves on from the past. In a culture that Stora has associated with silence and secrecy, where the mass deaths of the civil war are represented by a single photograph, and the mass deaths of the liberation struggle remain uncounted and consigned to the 'garbage bin of national history', the role of cinema as a listening and a seeing that re-presents the bodies of Algeria's subaltern masses is therefore an urgent one.

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