All about Algeria at the Institut Français in London

Film screenings, authors' discussions and loads of Algerian culture are on the menu at the French cultural institution in South Kensington.
All about Algeria at the Institut Français in London

As part of Voices of Algeria, a cultural collection of films, personalities and art from the North African country, the Institut Français has something for everyone this May. On July 5th of this year, the North African country will celebrate 60 years of independence, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of Albert Camus's novel The Outsider (also known at The Stranger). In Camus's novella, the title character is Meursault, an indifferent French settler in Algeria described as "a citizen of France domiciled in North Africa, a man of the Mediterranean, an homme du midi yet one who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture."

On May 17th at the Institut, audiences will be able to meet with Algerian writer Kamel Daoud, author of The Meursault Investigation which won him the 2015 Prix Goncourt du premier roman, along with Booker Prize winning Nigerian poet and playwright Ben Okri, in a conversation moderated by journalist and author Agnès Poirier.

Also on the 17th evening, there will be a screening of the 2019 film 143 Sahara Street paired with the 1966 short Elles, introduced by Daoud himself. As it states in the programme "Hassen Ferhani's quiet documentary 143 Sahara Street is an intimate portrait of a woman, a landscape, and even a country, Algeria. As she engages with the assortment of travelers who come through her door, Malika, owner of an off-the-grid café in the Sahara Desert, discusses religion, the economy, politics, and family." While "in Ahmed Lallem’s 1966 short film Elles, Algerian schoolgirls elucidate on their position in society four years after the country gained independence from France, revealing how they envisage the future, democracy, their place in society."

On the 19th, Their Algeria, a film by Lina Soualem will be introduced by best selling author Faïza Guène who has become popular with her young adult debut novel Just Like Tomorrow (Kiffe kiffe demain). Guène will also talk about her latest novel Discretion with her translator, Sarah Ardizzone. Seeking to “fix the offence of forgetting”, Faïza Guène will address the hardships of motherhood in the context of immigration.

The series will come to a close on Sunday, the 22nd of May with two episodes screened of the 2022 French series At War for Algeria, written by Raphaëlle Branche and Rafael Lewandowski, directed by Rafael Lewandowski and narrated by actress Lyna Khoudri. As the Institut's page for the event states: "In 1954, the Algerian war of liberation began, shaking the French colonial regime that had been in place since 1830. It was the beginning of eight long years of bitter conflict, one of the most traumatic of the century. On the 60th anniversary of the Evian agreements that ended the war, this landmark documentary series tells in vivid detail the story of this painful conflict through archive footage and interviews. Watch the first two episodes in the new English version of the series as part of Voices of Algeria and in partnership with Arte."

For more info and to purchase tickets, check out the Institut Français' website.

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