Here and Now: Contemporary Arab Women Filmmakers

Bloody Beans

Narimane Mari

Already an established producer before she turned to directing, Narimane Mari is part of an exciting wave of experimental cinema coming from Algeria. Her debut feature, Bloody Beans, won the top prize at the prestigious documentary festival CPH:DOX, though to call it merely a "documentary" is reductive: described in Film Comment as an "expressionistic hybrid," Mari's film is a comedy, a tragedy about the past, and a portrait of colonialism in the present. Shot over nine days, with limited rehearsals and almost no reshoots, Mari's film is set at some unspecified point during Algeria's War of Independence, and explores the legacy of France's brutal 132-year occupation of the country through the eyes and energies of children from the Bab El Oued and Bologhine neighbourhoods of Algiers. The results are less "kids say the darnedest things" than something akin to an hallucinatory experience, the surreal atmosphere aided by a score from Zombie Zombie.

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