Monday 1 March 2010

Yasmina Benguigui (b. 1957)

source: Film Movement (

Born in Lille, France to Algerian parents, film director Yamina Benguigui is renowned for her penetrating cinematic treatises on gender issues related to the North African immigrant community in France, particularly the Maghreb.

Benguigui began her career as assistant to Jean-Daniel Pollet for four years before beginning to write and direct her own films including the documentaries Women of Islam in 1994 and Immigrant Memories—The North African Inheritance in 1997. It was The Immigrant Memories- the North African Inheritance that marked her success in the film industry. This stunning reflection on the memory and the exile of North African immigrants was welcomed favorably by critics and the general public. Since then, Benguigui has realized a series of short films and documentaries including The Perfumed Garden (2000), Pimprenelle (2000) and Pas d'histoire! A Look at Everyday Racism (2000). In 2001, she made her first feature-length fiction film Inch'Allah Dimanche.

Despite her success, it took Benguigui awhile to be accepted both by her family and the general public as a prominent Algerian female filmmaker. According to her, "It was extremely difficult for me. One price I had to pay was that I had to be willing to cut myself off from my father. My father was not willing for me to follow this career, and it's only recently that I've been able to reestablish contact with him […] Because you're cut off to some extent from French society, you have to really impose yourself, you have to really fight to be able to work on subjects like this, subjects and realities that France isn't necessarily willing to acknowledge. It's a constant struggle, and you're constantly juggling several different hats: the hat of a woman, a director, the daughter of immigration. It's not easy."

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In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.