Algerian Cinema at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival starts today and after sharing my top 20 picks, it would be remiss of me if I didn't highlight the focus on Algerian cinema at this festival. 

Part of this year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival is a programme called "The Spirit of Independence: Algerian Cinema" which celebrates the 50th anniversary of post-independence Algerian cinema. The line up includes rare screenings of films that inspired a national Algerian cinema, plus the most famous Algerian film of all time, The Battle of Algiers, a great and timeless film (if you've never watched it before, this is your chance. 

Here's the full line up.  

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

One of the most influential political films ever, Gillo Pontecorvo’s incendiary street-level agitprop classic vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous struggle for independence from the French in the 1950s. 

Screening and ticket information


Chronicle of the Years of Embers (Chronique des années de braise / Waqai’ Sanawat al-Jamr (1975)

The first and only film from the Arab world to be awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina’s lyrical epic traces the Algerian revolution against the French through the experiences of a peasant.

Screening and ticket information


Opium and the Baton (L' opium et le baton) (1969) 

Ahmed Rachedi’s adaptation of Mouloud Mammeri’s novel about resistance fighters follows members of the a family who are at once separated and united by the war for independence. (Please note this film will be screened only in Arabic with French subtitles.)

Screening and ticket information.

Inspector Tahar's Holiday (Les vacances de l'inspecteur Tahar) (1972)

The Adventures of Inspector Tahar was a well-loved series of comedies directed by Moussa Haddad in the 1960s and 1970s featuring a comic pair of detectives. Here the duo investigate a murder at a Tunisian resort.

Screening and ticket information


A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Zwas one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from that hallowed era of filmmaking. This Academy Award winner—loosely based on the 1963 assassination of Greek left-wing activist Gregoris Lambrakis—stars Yves Montand as a prominent politician and doctor whose public murder amid a violent demonstration is covered up by military and government officials; Jean-Louis Trintignant is the tenacious magistrate who’s determined not to let them get away with it. Featuring kinetic, rhythmic editing, Raoul Coutard’s expressive vérité photography, and Mikis Theodorakis’s unforgettable, propulsive score, Z is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping masterpiece. (via Criterion)

Schedule and ticket information.