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Chronicle of the Years of Embers

Chronicle of the Years of Embers

Original Title: Chronique des années de braise
Director: Mohammad Lakhdar Hamina
Algeria | Arabic
1975 | 175min. | Colour
Subtitles: English
Format: 35mm
12+
A lyrical epic account of the events that led to the Algerian war of liberation from French colonization, Chronicle of the Years of Embers was the first and is still the only film from the Arab world to be awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The dramatic plot, structured in six chapters, is told from the point of view of Ahmed, a peasant who is reborn as a revolutionary hero. The film opens in the late 1930s when the expropriation of arable land and water resources by French colonists, who had occupied Algeria since 1830, causes a devastating drought with wide-ranging impact. Under the threat of starvation, Ahmed is forced to migrate with his family to the nearby city, where they struggle to survive. Eventually he is drafted into a battalion of Algerian soldiers to fight alongside the Allied forces in the Second World War. When he returns home, French colonial rule over the country has strengthened its grip as an insurrection begins to emerge. Ahmed joins the rebels; he fights remarkably but is killed in an ambush. His son continues the fight, and the film ends on November 11, 1954, when the war of independence is formally declared. Chronicle of the Years of Embers has become seminal in Arab cinema and the genre of epic historical reconstitutions of the birth of modern nations in the Arab world. It delivers a searing depiction of the anti-colonial struggle’s history, the suffering that Algerians endured, the first political expressions of a resistance and ultimately, as French colonists retaliated with violence, the progression toward armed revolution. Director Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina’s feat is to have also forged a thoroughly distinctive idiom, blending local lore and traditional poetry and storytelling to narrate a people’s modern political awakening in their fight for justice and dignity.

– Rasha Salti

Director,  Mohammad Lakhdar Hamina

Director,  Mohammad Lakhdar Hamina

Mohammed Lakhdar-Haminawas born inM’sila, Algeria and is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in Arabic cinema. In 1959 the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) sent him to Prague, where he studied at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts. His first featureThe Winds of Aures(1965) won the Best First Work Awardat Cannes. His other films areHassan, Terrorist(1967),December(1973),Sandstorm(1982) andThen Last Image(1986).

Cast and Crew

Director
Mohammed Lakhdar Hamina
Cast
Jorgo Voyagis, Mohammed Lakhdar Hamina, Sid Ali Kouiret, Larbi Zekkal, Nadia Talbi, Leila Shenne, Hassan El Hassani
Production Company
Oncic
Music
Philippe Arthuys
Screenwriter
Mohammed Lakhdar Hamina,
Editor
Youcef Tobni
Cinematographer
Marcello Gatti, Andreas Winding
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