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NNarrative Competition

Harraga Blues

Harraga Blues

Original Title: Harraga Blues
Director: Moussa Haddad
Algeria | Arabic
2012 | 116min. | Colour
Subtitles: English
Format: DCP
12+
In Harraga Blues, veteran Algerian director Moussa Haddad (see also Inspector Tahar’s Holiday, page 96) ventures into a different genre; his latest film is a raw and timely examination of his young countrymen who long for a new life across the sea.

Harraga literally means ‘those who burn’ in Arabic. It is a term commonly used in Algeria to refer to the thousands of young, desperate men who seek passage to the developed world each year via illegal immigration. In Harraga Blues, Zine and Rayanne plan to flee to a dreamland, a fantasy haven on the north shore of the Mediterranean. The crossing is commonly made in fishing boats and other small craft; hundreds of harragas die each year. Zine embarks for Spain with a group of others, while Rayyane decides to stay back to raise more money for the crossing – which involves tricking his uncle into lending him money under the pretence of running a local business. In the process of struggling to leave his country, Rayanne learns more about it than he ever did, affecting his mind and soul in ways he has never experienced. Meanwhile Zine becomes lost at sea, eventually rescued by the Algerian coast guard and brought back home. Overwhelmed by the hardship of his voyage he tries in vain to convince Rayanne not to go into exile. But, like so many other working poor around the world, Rayanne refuses to weigh the danger against the prospect of a better world.

– Tamara Malhas

Director,  Moussa Haddad

Director,  Moussa Haddad

Moussa Haddadwas born in Algiers. He began his career as an assistant director on the seminalThe Battle of Algiers(1965) andDeath Walks in Laredo(1966). He made his feature debut withInspector Tahar(1967), a popular comic mystery that spawned a number of sequels. Other films includeChildren of November(1975); Hassan Terro in the Bush(1978);Liberation(1982) andMade In(1999).

Cast and Crew

Director
Moussa Haddad
Cast
Karim Hamzaoui, Zakaria Ramdane
Production Company
Moussa Haddad Production
Music
Lotfi Attar
Producer
Amina Bédjaoui
Screenwriter
Amina Bédjaoui Haddad, Moussa Haddad
Editor
Mahfoud Boudjema
Cinematographer
Bachir Sellami
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