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Against amnesia: representations of memory in Algerian cinema

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Remembering and forgetting in their most extreme forms are crucial factors in the negotiation of a modern Algerian national identity. Algeria's history since gaining independence from French rule in 1962 has made questions of memory particularly acute. This article explores how the Algerian cinema of the last twenty years or so has attempted to counter official history working against both enforced amnesia and a state-sanctioned monolithic memory fixated on the liberation struggle to celebrate the transmission of corporeal gendered memory, of marginalized cultural identities, and of neglected historical origins. In the context of October 1988 and the so-called civil war of the 1990s, close readings are offered of films by Merzak Allouache, Mohamed Chouikh, Nadir Mokneche, Amor Hakkar and Tariq Teguia. Theoretical underpinning comes from readings of Fanon, Freud, cultural history and trauma theory.

Keywords: Algeria; amnesia; cinema; identity; memory; trauma

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Newcastle University.

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film.�
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