Zahra was born into a small Kabylie community in the Algerian mountains. She immigrated to France several years ago, but refuses to learn French. Her language is the basis of her identity and her most important legacy. Just as it is for thousands of immigrants.
Based on the film portrait of her mother, Fatima Sissani (born, 1970) looks at the value of words, so important to the cultural universe of Algerian immigrants in France. Often condemned to work in silent isolation, these immigrants find in the language of their homeland the possibility of returning to their roots, memories and histories.
A French-Algerian maker of films and documentaries, Sissani focuses on “minimal” stories about apparently secondary characters. Based on these narratives, she unveils the main geopolitical themes of our contemporary age: migration, exile and language. La Langue de Zahra (Zahra’s Mother Tongue), her debut documentary, has been presented at over twenty festivals and won several awards.
Projeto MEMOIRS — Filhos do Império e Pós-memórias Europeias
(Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra)
MEMOIRS is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (no. 648624) and is hosted at the Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra.