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I STILL HIDE TO SMOKE [À MON AGE JE ME CACHE ENCORE POUR FUMER]
Algeria. 2016. 90mins. Arabic and French with English subtitles.
In the heart of the hammam, mothers, daughters, lovers, virgins, rebels and religious fanatics converge. Some come for the laughter and gossip, some for peace and quiet, and others come to cleanse themselves of the physical and mental traumas suffered at the hands of the patriarchal, fundamentalist society in which they live. Set against the backdrop of the 1995 Civil War, Rayhana uses the formation of the Greek chorus to display an incredibly important, contemporary indictment of the woman’s role in Algeria. At a time when few such narratives ever make it to the cinema screen, this is a daring debut from a filmmaker to watch.
Eligible for the Film Africa 2017 Audience Award
Born in Bab El Oued, a traditionally working-class neighborhood of Algiers, Rayhana left Algeria several years ago and now lives and works in France. After studying at the Algerian National Institute for Fine Arts, then at the Algerian National Institute for Dramatic and Choreographic Arts, Rayhana joined the Béjaïa national theater company initially as an actor, then as a writer and director. She appeared in numerous films and television dramas before moving on to direct the plays she had written. She has received numerous awards at various Algerian festivals including Best Actress (Batna Festival), Best Theater Piece (Béjaïa Festival), Best Actress (Annaba Festival), and Special Jury Prize (Carthage Festival, Tunisia).
“I still hide to smoke” is her first play written in French and her first feature film as director. In January 2011 she published “Le Prix de la liberté” (“The Price of Freedom”) ed. Flammarion.