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African Film Festival 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
7:00 p.m. Fidaï
Damien Ounouri (France/Algeria/China/Germany/Kuwait, 2012)

Jia Zhang-ke’s Xstream Pictures served as coproducer of this elegiac portrait of a seemingly ordinary grandfather, who in reality was a freedom fighter during the Algerian War of Independence against France. Interspersing archival footage, reenactments, and interviews, director (and great-nephew of El Hadi) Damien Ounouri showcases how the past lives within the present: children play in their grandfather El Hadi’s yard, while El Hadi recalls the atrocities of the past, and his own brutal fight against colonialism. A documentary, contemporary companion to such fictional works as The Battle of Algiers, Fidaï showcases the scars and memories of a life spent in warfare, but also how to live when the war is over. “I’ve forgotten everything, and now I remember,” El Hadi sighs, a certain sorrow etched within his face, “but the day comes when one has to tell one’s story.” “A lovely, elegant and stirring look at one man's memories of being a fighter for Algeria's liberation from French colonialism,” wrote Variety, “Fidaï marks a striking advance in Arabic documentary filmmaking.”

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Linda Amiri, Ounouri. Photographed by Matthieu Laclau. (83 mins, In French and Arabic with English subtitles, Color, DCP, From Kafard Films)