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Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Algeria: Women at War

  • Rating: ***
  • Audience: College to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $295.00
  • Date: Copyright 1992. Released 1993.
  • Descriptors: Women - Algerian. Algeria - Social life and customs. Islam.
  • Production Information: Live action, Archival footage. Produced by Parminder Vir. Color, b&w. English, French Algerian. Subtitled. 52 min.
  • Production Company: Formation Films
  • Available from: Women Make Movies 462 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, NY 10013 (212)925-0606
  • Cataloging: 323.34'09"65 Women - Algeria||Women's rights - Algeria||Algeria - Social life and customs
  • Print Entry #: 5:1055
  • Reviewer: Celia A. Huffman

    This impassioned journey into the lives past, present, and future of Algerian women is seen through their own eyes. They relate personal experiences and struggles in a culture that is not only male-dominated but one also conservatively fundamental Islamic.

    Several interviews translated from French Algerian via subtitles present women of various life stages and from different circumstances sharing situations of historic significance and the parts they played in them, both through espionage and covert activity, and lamenting the lack of official recognition for their involvement. The interviews are interwoven with archival footage that documents the Algerian struggle for independence and ensuing political unrest. Concurrent with the production's taping was the assassination of High State Council Chairman Mohamed Boudiaf (a strong women's rights supporter) and the interviewees' emotionally painful reactions to his death.

    Blended with this is the women's portrayal of a dichotomous society where those who exert independence and self-reliance apart from a male figure, much as is the standard for the Western world, suffer societal ostracism, economic distress, persecution, and even death. Offered by means of a balance are a few token interviews with women in traditional roles who share their philosophies and perceptions both as women and as Muslims.

    This interesting documentary's diverse segments are connected via a cohesive narration that both draws conclusions and offers political commentary. Production qualities are quite satisfactory, but with its limited audience and high public performance price tag, this will find most use in academic and larger public library collections serving as an international and historical perspective on women's issues.

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