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Author: Guy Austin

In terms of the so-called 'clash of civilisations' after '9/11', Islamic states such as Algeria have too often been perceived in the West as 'other' and hence as threatening. This book, via an analysis of cinema, provides a discussion on some misunderstandings and assumptions about Algeria, which remains to a large extent underrepresented or misrepresented in the UK media. It is about Algerian national cinema and illuminates the ways in which the official mythologising of a national culture at the 'centre' of the postcolonial state has marginalised the diverse identities within the nation. Tahia ya didou occupies a pivotal position between fiction and documentary, capturing the hectic modernization of the Boumediene era while reflecting back on the aftermath of historical trauma. La Citadelle presents gender differences as culturally engrained and patriarchal power as secure. 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. Lettre à ma soeur listens to the voices of the subaltern; the film is a sense of re-emergence that follows the initial insurgency of Nabila's activism, the trauma of her killing and the subsequent years of silence and self-imposed incarceration.

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Algerian national cinemas
Guy Austin

Currently, Algerian cinema is starting to reconfigure itself after two decades of attrition and collapse. The nationalised film industry of the Boumediene era is long gone, but there are signs that a national film industry might be under (re)construction. Those signs are small-scale. It was taken as significant that the comedy Mascarades (Salem, 2007) was released on as many as eleven screens

in Algerian national cinema
Guy Austin

population, in contrast with the more nostalgically remembered Boumediene era. The disjuncture between the Algerian people and the state reached a nadir in Black October of 1988, ‘the autumn of the six hundred dead’ (Djebar 2000 : 140). For the first time in the history of the independent Algeria the violence of the regime became undeniably explicit as the army fired on the people, with hundreds of protestors killed and many

in Algerian national cinema
Trauma, history, myth
Guy Austin

documentary, as indeed between the certainties of cinéma moudjahid and the complexities of the new Algeria. It captures the hectic modernisation of the Boumediene era while reflecting back on the aftermath of historical trauma and providing an experimental formal example for 1970s classics such as Omar Gatlato (Allouache, 1976) and La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua (Djebar, 1978). The outlaw status of the film is

in Algerian national cinema