Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Watch First Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Watch First Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap Shonda Rhimes Night Is a Big Success for ABC. 'How to Get Away With Murder" Draws 14 Million Viewers Total Shonda Rhimes Night Is a Big Success for ABC. 'How to Get Away With Murder" Draws 14 Million Viewers Total 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

Experimentation In Arab Cinema From The 1960s To Now: Intimate, Inquisitive, Informative 'Fidai' (Algeria)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 13, 2012 at 11:07AM

Currently running at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) here in NYC is a three-part film exhibition titled Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, which aims to highlight a largely unknown heritage of experimental cinema from the Arab world.
0
Fidai

Currently running at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) here in NYC is a three-part film exhibition titled Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, which aims to highlight a largely unknown heritage of experimental cinema from the Arab world.

The works selected for this 3rd edition of Mapping Subjectivity hail from Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and more, reflecting a diversity and richness of voices.

I've been giving access to all the films in the series, and I'll be giving you a brief look at each of them in individual posts.

The series funs through the 25th of this month.

In Arabic, a fidaï means a fighter who has sworn his life to a cause.

And that's exactly what Mohamed El Hadi Benadouda considers himself, once one of countless anonymous veterans of the Algerian War of Independence against France, some 50 years ago; a successful 8-year rebellion against the French - a period that's realistically and rivetingly documented in Gillo Pontecorvo's landmark 1966 film, Battle Of Algiers; a film we've mentioned a number of times previously on this site, and highly recommend.

Joining the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) in secret while living in France, El Hadi was a loyal soldier who carried out assassinations, lived underground and did time in prison; when Algeria won its independence in 1962, he was expelled from France and returned to his home country. Now seventy years old, on the fiftieth anniversary of Algeria's independence, El Hadi recounts his years of struggle and hardship to his great-nephew Damien Ounouri in the documentary Fidaï, which is both a tribute to the anonymous heroes of a war that galvanized the imaginations of colonized people worldwide, and a critical reflection on the legacy that the war imprinted on the "new" Algerian society.

I'd call it a first-hand account of Algeria's struggle for liberation from under French colonial rule, told by a man who was on the frontlines.

Initially seemingly not keen on revisiting those tumultous years of his life, first as an assassin for the FLN, before enduring torture courtesy of the French, he eventually does begin to relive crucial moments during those particular years of his life, coaxed by his great-nephew (the filmmaker), who discovers an old newspaper article that includes a mention of his uncle's past imprisonment, forcing him to have to now, finally tell his story, after hiding it from his children for many years; although one could also argue that he was simply protecting them.

And once he starts to talk, he doesn't stop talking; understandable, since he certainly has a lot to say, given the life he's lived, and this is a part of that life he's essentially been supressing. You sense that it's probably freeing for him, telling his story (on camera, for the world to see), very matter-of-factly, without any of what I'd call extreme emotional displays, nor self-censoring.

What may be perceived initially as ambivalence eventually becomes conviction.

It serves as a wonderful education of a significant historical resistance, not only to his children and great-newphew, but to the audience as well - a time capsule you could say.

It's a intimate, poetic, minimalist work that doesn't rely on gimmicks, or even music to create emotion, since the filmmaker knows well that the material on its own is compelling enough, and the storyteller, even though he lived the gruesome tales he tells, seems relatively unaffected - almost like a news reporter, reporting on a historical event, although with an authenticity (re-staging key moments at the actual locations they took place) that only someone who was actually there would give off.

El Hadi belongs to a generation that is gradually leaving us, and whose largely undocumented experiences make up a history that has, sadly, yet to be thoroughly recorded and widely distributed.

It's a lyrical, informative, engaging testimony about one of the 20th century's most influencial revolutions.

Consider it a companion piece to Battle Of Algiers.


Shadow & ActNewsletter