Mourad Chouihi, director general of CNCA, told Al-Fanar Media: “We all regret not holding the week on time, between January 22 and 27. However, we confirm that the event will take place when the country’s health conditions allow.”
All of the scheduled films will be screened at that time, he said.
“We do not want to be linked to exacerbating the complexity of the public health situation,” he added.
13 Algerian Films
The festival had planned to screen 13 documentaries, some for the first time. Top works in the lineup included Salem Brahimi’s “Abd El-Kader” and the late Abdallah Touhami’s “Sophonisba: The Victim Queen of Cirta”.
The festival had also planned to honour a number of Arab films and artists who influenced Algerian cinema, Chouihi said.
Although Chouihi emphasized the diversity of the films on the event’s agenda, the centre’s statement asserted a predominance of historical documentaries. Highlights among these included “Sur les Traces des Camps de Regroupement” (“In the Footsteps of the Concentration Camps”), by Saïd Oulmi, and “Ugema,” by Mohamed Latrèche, which looks back on the birth and the fight of the General Union of Algerian Muslim Students in the struggle for national liberation.
Other historical documentaries on the schedule included Ali Ayadi’s “Enrico Mattei and the Algerian Revolution”, Jean Asselmeyer’s “André Ravéreau et l’Algérie: Et le Site Créa la Ville”, Sid Ahmed Semiane’s “Babylone Constantina”, and Dorothée-Myriam Kellou’s “In Mansourah, You Separated Us”.
Saidani, the actor, noted that other works were not strictly historical documentaries yet had a historical flavour. As an example, he cited Fatiha Bourouine’s “Algerian Surnames, French Hatred”.
Other films were purely non-historical, like Fatiha Afiane’s “Our Sea”; Hocine Saadi’s “Neither There nor There”; Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Body + Art”; and Hassen Ferhani’s “143, Sahara Street”.
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Saidani he had hoped to see a cultural boost from the Documentary Film Week, but “the coronavirus had another say”.
Chouihi, of the CNCA, noted that the festival’s postponement had come as part of wider closures.
“The cultural sector, like other sectors, has its fans,” he said. “But organizers must protect those fans’ health above all.”