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Katarina Hedrén
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Katarina Hedrén (Africiné)

Djamila Sahraoui, Filmmaker

Scene of YEMA

Djamila Sahraoui, Filmmaker

Scene of YEMA

Scene of YEMA

Scene of YEMA

Scene of YEMA

Scene of YEMA

Depuis le Sud



Yema, by Djamila Sahraoui
A magnificent act of defiance

In the face of repression, one of the most powerful acts of resistance is the pursuit of normality and the refusal to give into the chaos and paralysis that orchestrators of violence seek to infuse.
With Yema, Algerian filmmaker Djamila Sahraoui's second feature film after her acclaimed feature debut Barakat! (2008), the director continues to devote her extraordinary sensitivity and talent to the theme of women and resilience in repressive times.

Ouardia (played by Sahraoui) has lost two sons to the violence that has ravaged the nation for decades. Tarik - her favourite and a military officer - was killed in the guerrilla war between Islamist and government forces. Her other son Ali left home to fight with the Islamist forces.
Ouardia's suspicion that Ali had a hand in the killing of his brother leaves them unable to communicate, other than through accusations and elaborate ways to cause each other pain.

Ouardia lives as a prisoner in an isolated house in the Algerian countryside, where an Islamist fighter incapacitated by an explosion is watching over her at her son's orders. The mutual resentment of the soldier, who would rather fight a war, and the grieving old woman, is manifested in wordless and petty showdowns. Their monotony and solitude is only interrupted by Ali's irregular and unsettling visits.
Her daily routine of tending to her garden keeps Ouardia's fear and grief at bay. It also allows her to perform a magnificent act of defiance, which is to give and nurture life in a political and geographical landscape of drought and destruction. These acts have a significant impact on herself as well as the soldier. Not in a miraculous or earth-shattering way, but enough for them both to hold on to what remains of their humanity and maybe even restore some.

In a confident cinematic language and deliberate rhythm, Sahraoui skilfully plays with architecture and geography to reflect the austerity and isolation, as well as fluctuations in mood and relationships. Situated in a volatile no man's land between warring sides, Ouardia's home is both a protecting but limiting fortress and a sanctuary to which the guard and Ali can be invited or denied access.
Sahraoui in the role of Ouardia reflects similar dualities with her measured acting and vulnerable yet forceful figure engaged in constant and resolute action.

Djamila Sahraoui thankfully refrains from teaching moral or political lessons. Instead she merely reminds us that regardless of the level of oppression, there is almost always room for agency to be exerted in the form of minor action or thought. Perhaps she is also suggesting that liberation begins with individuals rather than revolutions.

Katarina Hedrén

Article written during the Workshop "Bulletin Africiné" - Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), FESPACO 2013. Published in Africiné n°19 (Ouaga), Thursday 28th february, 2013, p. 1.
This Bulletin is edited by the African Federation of Film Critics (AFFC, Dakar) with the support of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, Africultures, French Embassy in Senegal and Algeria, Goethe Institut in South Africa and Nigeria, Ministry of Culture (Tunisia), Institut Gabonais de l'Image et du Son (IGIS), Vanuit het Zuiden (Depuis le Sud), Africa N°1 and Fespaco. It's written by journalists members of AFFC in attendance at Fespaco 2013, from 15 African countries.

YEMA won the SILVER STALLION at Fespaco 2013 (The Editor).

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   liens films

Yema 2012
Djamila Sahraoui

   liens artistes

Dedet Antonin

O'Byrne Raphael

Orif Mustapha

Sahraoui Djamila

Yahia Samir

Zarif Ali

Zidi Mourad


28/09/2012 > 05/10/2012
festival |Belgique |
FIFF - Festival International du film francophone de Namur 2012

16/11/2012 > 24/11/2012
festival |France |
Festival international du film d'Amiens 2012
32e édition Compétitions, hommages, rétrospectives, événements.

09/12/2012 > 16/12/2012
festival |Émirats arabes unis |
9th Dubai International Film Festival - DIFF 2012
9ème édition. 158 films sélectionnés.

15/12/2012 > 22/12/2012
festival |Algérie |
Festival d'Oran du Film arabe - FOFA 2012
6ème édition

23/02/2013 > 02/03/2013
festival |Burkina Faso |
FESPACO 2013 (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou)
23e édition. Thème : "Cinéma africain et politiques publiques en Afrique".

23/02/2013 > 03/03/2013
festival |Burkina Faso |
Cinéma Algérien au Fespaco 2013
« En compétition pour le YENNENGA d’Or » Le cinéma algérien sera fortement représenté à la 23ème édition du FESPACO

28/08/2013 > 28/10/2013
projection |France |
Sortie nationale du film YEMA
YEMA un film de DJAMILA SAHRAOUI. Sortie nationale en salles le 28 août 2013.

11/03/2016 > 19/03/2016
festival |Suisse |
Festival International de Films de Fribourg 2016
30e édition

   liens structures

Africa N°1
France | Paris

France | Les Pilles

Agence Algerienne pour le Rayonnement Culturel (AARC)
Algérie | Alger

Aramis Films
France | PARIS

Algérie | ALGER

Algérie | ALGER

Fédération Africaine de la Critique Cinématographique (FACC)
Sénégal | Dakar

Burkina Faso | Ouagadougou 01

Films de l'Olivier (Les)

Goethe-Institut Johannesburg
Afrique du Sud | JOHANNESBURG

Goethe-Institut Lagos (Centre Culturel Allemand, Nigeria)
Nigeria | Lagos

Institut Gabonais de l'Image et du Son (IGIS)

Ministère de la culture et de la sauvegarde du patrimoine (Tunisie)
Tunisie | TUNIS

Ministère des Affaires étrangères (France)
France | Paris

Neon Productions

Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF)
France | PARIS

Vanuit het Zuiden (Depuis le Sud)

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YEMA, de Djamila Sahraoui, Algérie, 2012
bande annonce



YEMA, Djamila Sahraoui, Algeria, 2012 (DIFF Trailer)
bande annonce



Barakat! - Trailer (in French)
bande annonce


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