1st Price of Documentary, Festival Vues d’Afrique 2012, Montreal, Canada / 1st Price, Festival du cinéma amazigh 2012, Tizi Ouzou, Algeria / 1st Price, Festival Issni N’ourgh du cinéma amazigh, Agadir, Morocco

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.

Trailer / Zahra’s mother tongue

Director : Fatima Sissani - 2011 - France - 93 minutes
Producer : 24images - Broadcaster : France 3 ViaStella - LMTV


    • Les Etats généraux du documentaire 2011, Lussas, France
    • Festival Traces de vies 2011, Clermont-Ferrand, France
    • Ateliers Premiers Plans, Angers, France
    • Festival de Douarnenez 2019, France
    • Festival Femmes en Résistance, Arceuil, France
    • Festival du film arabe 2011, Fameck, France
    • Festival Millenium 2012, Bruxelles, Belgium
    • Festival de cinéma 2012, Alès, France
    • Documentaires au féminin, Rennes, France
    • Festival Maghreb si loin si proche, Argelès-sur-Mer, France