Film projects: Open Doors
En attendant les hirondelles (Waiting for the Swallows)
Mourad has become a wealthy and important businessman. He tries to avoid any problems in his life, in which the priorities are, in his view, his work, his wife and his son.
Aïcha wants to put the past behind her and devote herself to a new life as a married woman. Accompanied by her father and a neighbor, she sets out on a journey to her new family on the other side of the country.
Dahman is a doctor and he, too, hopes to start a new chapter in his life. He wants to marry his cousin and is waiting patiently for the promotion which will allow him to attain a new level of social status.
All three will have to face the consequences of a choice made in the recent past.
In the 1990s Algeria went through an unprecedented civil war. For ten years there was conflict between armed groups and the military. The fighting left 200,000 dead, and tens of thousands displaced from their homes in high-risk zones. In addition the country’s economy, already strained by the sharp drop in oil prices, collapsed completely.
This grim situation lasted to the onset of the 2000s, but for us the new decade brought with it hopes of change. Could we get over this national tragedy? We decided to believe we could - having seen death close up, we were going to cling to life. We wanted to work, sow the seed and reap the harvest, laugh and love.
I thought it would be enough for us to love life, for it to love us, too. The years 2000-2010 saw oil prices reach all-time highs. Consumer goods were imported in record quantities and Algerians discovered the pleasures of shopping and mass consumption. Despite financial prosperity and a previously unknown standard of living, however, another kind of distress persists unchanged – the kind that lingers on forever, never learning from the mistakes of the past. We are caught up all too quickly in the new delights discovered despite (or because of) globalization, and so we gorge unstintingly on anything that can make us forget the traumas of the recent past.
This is the background against which the stories in my film play out. First and foremost they are social stories, about ordinary people living ordinary lives. The screenplay develops a series of portraits of men and women coming to terms with everyday life and the recent history of Algeria. It brings to the screen people’s aspirations for a better life (through their desire, will and strategy), set against the actual accomplishment of such aspirations. The idea is to allow the viewer to glimpse the kind of social stalemate that can result from a purely functional system and from self-contradictory thinking. At the same time, the intention is to portray the relations between men and women, their individual places within society, and to single out their responsibilities in building modern Algerian society and working towards changing it for the future.
My characters are at a turning point in their personal lives, yet they are not and do not want to be actors for change.
Production company profile
Taj Intaj is a film production and distribution company based in Algiers. Set up by Adila Bendimerad in 2011, its mission is to support, assist and develop film projects from young talents. Its current main project is En attendant les hirondelles, a full-length fiction feature being developed with director Karim Moussaoui.
Les Jours d’avant, Karim Moussaoui (2013)