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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.

Trauma, history, myth
Guy Austin

darkness. Meanwhile the underground activity of the revolutionary mole, digging in the darkness, evokes the importance of caves as a site of Algerian origins and resistance, from the enfumades of the 1800s – alluded to in Tahia ya didou (Zinet, 1971) and La Montagne de Baya (Meddour, 1997) – to the symbolism of ‘la grotte’ in the novel Nedjma (Yacine 1996) and the allegorical cave sequences in La Nouba des femmes du

in Algerian national cinema
Mourning and melancholia
Guy Austin

who managed to flee Algeria in the 1990s, and hence to Allouache himself, several of whose subsequent films were made in France. In the city that Boualem leaves behind, a couple of French tourists wander around Algiers sightseeing, in a hommage to the cult film Tahia ya didou (Zinet, 1971) and to the energy of the new Algeria evoked in that work. But the blindness of Mohamed (the torture victim played by Zinet) in Tahia ya

in Algerian national cinema
Abstract only
Algerian national cinemas
Guy Austin

that resisted Arabisation policies in the 1970s, such as Tahia ya didou (Zinet, 1971) and La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua (Djebar, 1978). Moreover, different languages regularly co-exist on screen (certainly after the 1960s). As with Bhabha and Gabriel, however, so too with Glissant, the case of Algerian cinema reminds us that the focus on ‘the West’ as imperial, hegemonic power in cultural theory risks ignoring the

in Algerian national cinema
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Tradition and taboo
Guy Austin

Omar but also in the figure of his young cousin, a half-naked little boy (reminiscent of Didou in Tahia ya didou ) who stands perplexed in the crowded apartment, a shot that carefully deploys the national colours of red, green and white to emphasise that here – in an everyday space in Bab El-Oued rather than in the monolithic official discourse of martyrdom – is the future of Algeria. The first women that Omar introduces are

in Algerian national cinema