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Zahra’s mother tongue

Fatima Sissani

2011 / 93 minutes / Production : 24 images, LMTV / Broadcasting : LMTV

Zahra’s mother tongue

The Kabyls exist primarily through speech. Each gesture, each instant
of their daily life flows into a verse, a metaphor, a proverb…After
all, in the mountainous fortress that they’re patrons of, oratory
prowess is the most prevalent activity.

This is a reality that one cannot fully apprehend in the society of
immigration when confronted with these men and women - often illiterate - relegated to the borders as labourers or household helps. It is hard
to imagine the eloquent orators that they become when they switch back
to their mother tongue.

I sensed this reality and measured its intensity and calibre by filming
my mother, her history and her present.

I watched, fascinated, this woman who held on unshakeably to her mother
tongue. A woman who reveals an orality that has been transmitted from
generation to generation. A language that brings together poetry and
eloquence to talk about bucolic childhood, exile or poverty… This
language is the ultimate intelligence that most Kabyls carry with
them…A language with which they can construct an “elsewhere” for
themselves that isn’t just exile.

  • Selection :
    • Arabic film festival at Fameck, October 2011
    • Vues d’Afrique Montreal May 2012
    • Millenium, Bruxelles, April 2012
    • Festival du film amazigh, Tizi Ouzou, March 2012
    • Cinema festival of Alès, March 2012
    • Traces de vie, Clermont Ferrand, November 2011
    • Etats généraux de Lussas, August 2011
  • Awards :
    • First prize documentary, Montreal Festival International de Cinéma Vues d’Afrique
    • First prize, Tizi Ouzou Amazigh Film festival