DJOUHRA ABOUDA AND ALAIN BONNAMY RETROSPECTIVE
Wednesday, May 25
The films produced by Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy pushed the purely formal boundaries of experimental cinema in a combination of avant-garde aesthetics and political activism. Working in the cinema department of the Centre Universitaire Expérimental de Vincennes in Paris, Abouda and Bonnamy made two experimental short films Algérie Couleurs (1972) and Ciné-Cité (1974) and a feature film, Ali au pays des merveilles (1976).
Born in Algeria in 1949, Djouhra Abouda arrived in France with her family in 1956. She founded the feminist protest band Djurdjura in the late 1970s and began to pursue a solo music career in 2002. Alain Bonnamy, born in 1947, is an architect and photographer.
ALI AU PAYS DES MERVEILLES (ALI IN WONDERLAND) (1976, DCP, 59m, Algeria/France, French and Arabic w/English subtitles) dir Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy. Experimental feature. Ali au pays des merveilles combines powerful, inventive aesthetics and form with a militant purpose, exploring the condition of Algerian workers in France in the mid-1970s. Shot on 16mm, the film is a cry against exploitation and racism experienced at the hands of the French state and media, as well as legacies of capitalism and colonization.
The film, which remained largely forgotten and invisible, was recently restored and digitized in 4K at L’Image Retrouvée (Paris).
ALGÉRIE COULEURS (1972, DCP, 16m, Algeria/France) dir Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy. Experimental short. A short cinematographic exploration of color in Algerian architecture made using a rostrum camera with photographs taken by Alain Bonnamy and accompanied by music. Recently digitized in 4K at Polygône Etoilé Marseille.
CINÉ-CITÉ (1974, DCP, 15m, Algeria/France) dir Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy. Experimental short. A short film devoted to the streets of Paris. The filmmakers capture the cosmopolitan city in a series of kaleidoscopic assemblages accompanied by the sounds of saxophone and Um Kalthoum.