Djouhra Abouda et Alain Bonnamy
From Algiers to Vincennes17 Nov 2021
The event is over
Born in a village in the Djurdjura mountains in Kabylia in the late 1940s, Djouhra Abouda (1949) arrived in France with her father at the age of five and lived in the Belleville district of Paris. After cutting ties with her family who wanted to prevent her from following an artistic career, she founded the Djurdjura group in the 1980s, with whom she produced several albums before devoting herself to her solo career with the album Uni-vers-elles, released in 2002.
In the 1970s, Djouhra Abouda developed a film project in the University of Vincennes laboratories with architect Alain Bonnamy (1947). They produced and directed three films together: Algérie couleurs (1970-1972), a cinematographic exploration of colour in Algerian architecture made using a rostrum camera with photographs taken by Alain Bonnamy and accompanied by music; Cinécité in 1973-1974 (which is already in the collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne), based on the principle of cultural blending; Ali au pays des Merveilles (1975-1976), a film-cum-tract on the living conditions of Algerian workers in France.
In Ali au pays des Merveilles, Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy blend documentary images using brief double exposure against the backdrop of the voices of emigrants and their companions, who tell of their daily lives and the exploitation and racism in complete contrast to the idealised image of the France of the Trente Glorieuses. In the newspaper Le Monde, in 1977, writer Tahar Ben Jelloun wrote: “Ali au pays des merveilles is a film about time and wearing down. The derision and melancholy of history. The filmmakers clearly show the political link between colonisation and emigration. It is not a militant film. It is something else: a diverging perspective on daily life that affords a fantastical dimension to the misery and exploitation of which migrant workers are victims. The reality that is presented and cut up is even more powerful, more surprising than fiction: it is also more violent than political discourse. As Djouhra said, “if film is to be reduced to political discourse, it is it better to distribute tracts””.
On the occasion of the recent acquisition of the films Algérie couleurs and Ali au pays des merveilles by the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the Centre Pompidou invites Djouhra Abouda and Alain Bonnamy to present a cinematographic work at the frontier between aesthetic and political activism.
Screening attended by Léa Morin, the researcher at initiative of the restoration of these two films. 4K restoration carried out in 2021 by Image Retrouvée from the original negatives and a 16mm print, conducted by the Talitha association in collaboration with the two filmmakers.
Djouhra Abouda et Alain Bonnamy, Algérie Couleurs, 1970-1972, film 16mm, couleur, sonore, 17 minutes.
Djouhra Abouda et Alain Bonnamy, Cinécité, 1973-1974, film 16mm, couleur, sonore, 17 minutes.
Djouhra Abouda et Alain Bonnamy, Ali au pays des merveilles, 1975-1976, film 16mm (numérisé), couleur, sonore, 60 minutes.
19h - 21h
Djouhra Abouda et Alain Bonnamy, Ali aux pays des merveilles, 1975
© Djouhra Abouda et Alain Bonnamy et Talitha, Rennes