Friday, June 29, 2018

Waqai sanawat al-djamr / Chroniques des années de braise / Chronicle of the Years of Fire (2018 restoration by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project)

وقائع سنين الجمر‎ / De glödande åren / Cronaca degli anni di brace.
    Director: Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina. Year: 1975. Country: Algeria.
    Scen.: Rachid Boudjedra, Tewfik Fares, Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina. F.: Marcello Gatti. M.: Yussef Tobni. Mus.: Philippe Arthuys. Int.: Yorgo Voyagis (Ahmed), Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (Milud), Leïla Shenna (moglie di Ahmed), Cheikh Nourredine (Si Larbi), Larbi Zekkal (Smaïl), Sid Ali Kouiret, Nadia Talbi, Taha El Amiri, Abdelhalim Rais, Brahim Hadjadj, Hassan El Hassani. Prod.: ONCIC (Office National Commerce Industrie Cinéma). DCP. D.: 157' and 177’. Col.
    Arabic and French version with English subtitles.
    Section Cinemalibero.
    DCP from The Film Foundation: World Cinema Project.
    Restored in 2018 by Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’Image Retrouvée and L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratories. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation. Restored in 4K from the original camera and sound negatives and a first generation 35 mm interpositive. Color grading supervised by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina. This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, created by The Film Foundation, FEPACI and Unesco in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna.
    E-subtitles in Italian by Sub-Ti Londra.
    Introduced by Cecilia Cenciarelli. In the presence of Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina after the show.
    Viewed at Sala Scorsese, Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Cinemalibero, 29 June 2018.

Before the screening we were informed that the 157 minutes French cut preferred by the director would be screened. But in reality the 177 minutes Algerian cut was on display.

Guy Hennebelle: "No, Waqai sanawat al-djamr is not a Hollywood movie: what we disapprove of Hollywood cinema is not its spectacular quality, but the fact that it manipulates emotions, creates fictitious universes and it distils a flawed ideology (among other things). This is certainly not the case with Lakhdar Hamina’s film. We have a great need for anti-imperialist films to reply to the innumerable lies of imperialist films […]"

"No, Waqai sanawat al-djamr is not, as someone said lately, a politically moderate film. Nor is it correct to say that “this is a film that spare the French”, quite the opposite, what can be objected is that colonial society is more complex than it is represented here, however, that was not the purpose of the film. Hamina shows the Europeans as ‘we’ showed Native Americans or third world citizens in ‘our films’: from a distance. And if this film serves to bring France (once Giscardian) closer to Algeria, so much the better, since it’s clear that it does go to the detriment of the latter. If the official France believed that it was clever to award this film in Cannes, we must take advantage of this contradiction, as it will allow the French to get a clearer idea of what the Algerian people’s liberation war really was." Guy Hennebelle, “Ecran”, n. 40, 1975

Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina: "I tried to recount, with dignity and nobility, this uprising that then became the Algerian Revolution, an uprising not only against the coloniser, but against a certain human condition. I wanted to avoid any kind of Manichaean, caricatural and demagogic approach, which risked turning Waqai sanawat al-djamr into a sort of Western; good against evil, Algerians against French. What guided me was the quest for honesty: I looked inside myself for the honesty of a child, the eyes of the child I once was, the memories of my childhood. […] It would be a serious mistake to distinguish Algerian Cinema, the cinema of the Maghreb, from African Cinema. The cinema of the Third World is one – the Arab World, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia – as we share the same motivations, the same difficulties, and a common destiny, on an artistic level and on an expressive level. We have suffered hunger and thirst. We will reclaim our image." Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina, interviewed by Claude Dupont, “Cahiers de la cinémathèque”, Summer 1975

Wikipédia: "Le film est composé en 6 chapitres :

    Les Années de Cendre
    Les Années de Braise
    Les Années de Feu
    L'Année de la Charrette
    L'Année de la Charge
    Le 1 novembre 1954

L'histoire du film commence en 1939 et se termine le 11 novembre 1954 et, à travers des repères historiques, démontre que le 1er novembre 1954 (date de déclenchement de la révolution Algérienne) n'est pas un accident de l'histoire, mais l'aboutissement d'un long processus, de souffrances, de combats d'abord politiques et puis militaires, qu'entreprit le peuple algérien contre le fait accompli qu'est la colonisation française débutant par un débarquement à Sidi-Ferruch le 14 juin 1830.

AA: I sampled the brand new restoration of the Algerian epic which I have seen a long time ago and need to see again. The digital quality is bright and clear.

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