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Namibian Premiere of the Algerian Masterpiece Epic “Chronicle of the Years of Fire” by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina, SAT, 17 November 2012, 19h00, Goethe-Centre

As part of the Namibian Film Awards and Screenings 2012 and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s Independence, AfricAvenir on Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 19h00 presents the Namibian Premiere of the Algerian Masterpiece Epic “Chronicle of the Years of Fire” (Algeria, 1975, 177 min, Original with English subtitles) by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina and with Jorgo Voyagis (Ahmed), Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (Milhoud), Sid Ali Kouiret (Saïd). Venue: Goethe-Centre, Auditorium.

Special guest: H.E. Lahcene Kaid-Slimane, Ambassador of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

In Detail/Synopsis
Chronicle of the Years of Fire also known as Chronicle of the Burning Years, is a film written and directed by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina. In 1975, this lyrical, epic account of the events that led to the Algerian war of liberation from France was the first film from North Africa and the Arab world to be awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Despite winning one of cinema's most prestigious prizes, Chronicle of the Years of Fire remains largely unseen and unheard of. Although a classic, the film has long been nearly impossible to find. Due to its monumental importance for cinema history, AfricAvenir put all its efforts into recovering the film and makes it accessible to Namibian audiences. 

The film follows an Algerian peasant as he fights alongside the Allied forces in World War II, returns home and joins the resistance against French colonial rule, and dies valiantly in battle. His son continues the struggle, and the film ends on November 11, 1954, the official outbreak of the war for liberation.
Throughout the film there is also one other prominent character who appears from time to time, a homeless madman by the name of Miloud (played by the director himself), who serves as an unofficial narrator, providing some comic relief, while preaching mostly to an empty graveyard, with remarkable wisdom on the mostly terrible events that will unfold. 

What's immediately noticeable is that this was no ordinary production. Every scene is a triumph in staging and choreography, and there are many large scale set pieces filled with extras, along with sequences which rival the best of Hollywood epics, often shot from wide and ultra wide angles by famed cinematographer Marcello Gatti (The Battle of Algiers) to really capture the immense scope of the action.

Chronicle of the Years of Fire is an extraordinary film. One whose message remains just as important and relevant now as ever.

About the director: Mohammdad Lakhdar Hamina
One of the most important Algerian filmmakers is veteran director Mohammdad Lakhdar Hamina. His film Chronicles of the Years of Fire won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1975. Lakhdar Hamina’s previous film December (1972) is a moving and accomplished exploration of the psychology and moral dilemmas of a French army officer and an Algerian resistance leader, as the two embark on a battle of wills in an interrogation involving escalating levels of torture and murder. These two films are a genuine and moving exploration of issues fundamental to Algeria and France and whose international resonance remains live today, yet are surprisingly little explored. Lakhdar Hamina is a key figure in the development of Algerian cinema, and created a new international awareness of it. His influence can be felt on Algerian directors in the limelight today such as Rashid Bouchareb with his epic tales relating to Algerian liberation such as Days of Glory (2006) and Hors La Loie (2010).

The film series African Perspectives is supported by the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, WhatsOnWindhoek, the Goethe-Centre Windhoek and Arterial Network Namibia. 

Date: Saturday, 17 November 2012     
Time: 19h00      
 Entrance: 30,- N$     Venue: Goethe-Centre, Auditorium

© Copyright AfricAvenir 2012 

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