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Ronita Torcato


A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


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I was tired of the war and terrorism represented in Algerian cinema says Fatma-Zohra Zamoum

Algerian cinema reflects the male point of view in films about women says Fatma-Zohra  Zamoum whose second feature "How Big is Your Love" is about the relationship between an eight year old boy and his grandparents.

 " I made this film because children and the aged are absent in North African cinema. Practically  every movie is about youth or work and lifestyle issues. I was also tired of the war and terrorism represented in Algerian cinema," Zamoum  told journalists at the 42nd IFFI's Media Centre. Born in a village in Algeria, Zamoum went to art school in Algiers and arrived in Paris in 1988 to pursue further studies in art. She picked up a diploma in film-making in 1995 and  holds dual French and Algerian nationalities today, enjoying the best of both worlds in Paris and Algiers.Regimes (like the Taliban and Saudi Arabia) are "ignorant,fake and false" she says in response to a question about the restrictions on women to work, study or even drive, in the name of tradition."I would respect them if they chose to live without modern gadgets. There is obviously something very wrong with the Taliban for whom even birdsong is haraam."IFFI's mid-fest film Golchehreh helmed by the Iranian director Vahid Mousaian exposes the  barbarous behaviour of the Taliban in Afghanistan where they prohibited television, cinema, theatre, music, dance, shaving, kite flying, singing, playing instruments and several sports among other activities. The Taliban even destroyed the National Film Archives. Nationalised and radicalised Algerian cinema's first production company was founded in 1962. Today, there are (only) two women producers.  "It can be difficult to get women to act because of societal pressures" reveals Zamoum who played herself in her first (award-winning) film Zhar."On the other hand,  Nadjia Debbah-Laaraf,  who plays the grandmother  in my film, studied ballet at the Bolshoi. And the Minister of Culture is a woman."But these two women would be the exception to the rule in a country which curtails public freedoms even after lifting ( in February 2011 ) the state of emergency that was operative for almost two decades. The Culture Ministry  as Zamoum tells it, is cash rich.It helped finance her film but fails to disburse the funds needed for production to the industry which "makes 10 movies in a very good year." Her next film will be set in India.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai

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