The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.


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02 May 2023

Rahma Benhamou El Madani: The Salt Pact | Le pacte de sel

Rahma Benhamou El Madani: The Salt Pact | Le pacte de sel

Partager le sel, manger le sel de la vie lie l'un à l'autre. Le voisinage est sacré. La voisine connait nos secrets, n'oubliera jamais les pleurs des enfants, leur douleur, leur mort. La couleur de leur peau, la raideur ou non des cheveux. La voisine sait le goût du sel, l'aventure de l'exil. La terre, cette terre qui nous lie nous rendrait-elle nos souvenirs communs ancestraux ?
Sharing the salt, eating the salt of life links one to the other. The neighborhood is sacred. The neighbor knows our secrets, will never forget the children's cries, their pain, their death. The color of their skin, the stiffness or not of their hair. The neighbor knows the taste of salt, the adventure of exile. Would the earth, this earth that connects us, give us back our common ancestral memories? 

Quelques réflexions | Some thoughts

Je découvrais le Maroc et l’Atlas à l’âge de 10 ans pendant les vacances d’été. Mes racines algériennes seront coupées douloureusement. Je tente de renouer avec ces racines à travers mes films. J’ai mis beaucoup de temps à trouver cet équilibre car les anciens ne se rendent pas compte que leurs chemins nous façonnent et qu’ils doivent nous laisser des traces pour ne pas perdre la mémoire. C’est ce que je tente de retrouver, la mémoire de notre monde entremêlé l’un à l’autre. L’histoire du Maroc, de l’Algérie et aussi de la France dans son rapport à ces deux pays.
I discovered Morocco and the Atlas at ten years old during the summer holidays. My Algerian roots have been painfully severed. I try to reconnect with these roots through my films. It took me a long time to find this equilibrium because the elders do not realize that their paths shape us and that they must leave traces for us, so that these memories are not lost. This is what I try to find again, the memory of our world intertwined with each other. The history of Morocco, of Algeria and also of France as it relates to these two countries.


Very powerful words by Rahma Benhamou el Madani
Translation from French by Beti Ellerson in BledNews - 7 June 2023

It is in Morocco that the Franco-Moroccan filmmaker, Rahma Benhamou el Madani chose to organize the preview of her latest documentary Le Pacte de Sel | The Salt Pact where she recounts her return to the source, in her native Algerian village which she left at the age of 6 to go to France.

BledNews: If you were asked to talk about your documentary The Salt Pact in a few words, what sets it apart from your previous work?

RB-E: It's sensitive! From all points of view: the sensorial, the effect of memory, the personal, the humane. I am in the image, behind the camera and in front of it. It's my most intimate film. And it is also the one that makes me sad at the moment because of the separation of my two identities.

BledNews: The situation of Moroccan families expelled from Algeria continues to make headlines. Is this what you wanted to allude to in The Salt Pact.

RB-E: I wanted to lift the ban on returning to Algeria. I grew up with the fear of Algeria. Because of the media. And fortunately my family had good relations with their neighbors. A stupid nostalgia and I wanted to see with my own eyes.

BledNews: To be a woman, of Moroccan origin, especially in the world of cinema in France. Are they two major obstacles or two formidable challenges?

RB-E: Honestly, it depends on with whom you associate. And especially the principles that are shared, or not. As far as I am concerned, I made choices very early on. I chose the most difficult path, the one passed on by my parents. Whenever I had a doubt I thought of them. So being Franco-Moroccan is an interesting challenge and at the same time I had so many obstacles as soon as I left the family sphere for my studies and then for my work. Structural racism in France is a reality.

Interview by LA

 Rahma Benhamou El Madani:  Le pacte de sel

Rahma Benhamou El Madani: The Salt Pact 

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