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La Nouba des Femmes du Mont-Chenoua
A film by Assia Djebar
Algeria, 1977, 115 minutes, Color, DVD, Subtitled
Order No. W99620
Finally available in the United States, this classic film from acclaimed novelist and filmmaker Assia Djebar is essential viewing for an understanding of women in Algeria. Taking its title and structure from the “Nouba," a traditional song of five movements, this haunting film mingles narrative and documentary styles to document the creation of women’s personal and cultural histories.

Returning to her native region 15 years after the end of the Algerian war, Lila is obsessed by memories of the war for independence that defined her childhood. In dialogue with other Algerian women, she reflects on the differences between her life and theirs. In lyrical footage she contemplates the power of grandmothers who pass down traditions of anti-colonial resistance to their heirs. Reading the history of her country as written in the stories of women’s lives, Assia Djebar’s LA NOUBA DES FEMMES DU MONT-CHENOUA is an engrossing portrait of speech and silence, memory and creation, and a tradition where the past and present coexist.

Widely hailed as one of the most important figures in francophone Maghrebian literature, Djebar is the author of more than a dozen books, including A SISTER TO SCHEHEREZADE and WOMEN OF ALGIERS IN THEIR APARTMENT. She is currently Professor and Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies at the Louisiana State University.


  • Venice Film Festival, Int’l Association of Journalists Award
  • Doha Tribeca Film Festival

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    “La Nouba is a film of rare intelligence.”
    Ahmed Bedjaoui
    Revue des 2 Ecrans

    “Assia Djebar always listens as much as she watches and records, from the special, not to say privileged perspective of a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary woman. Her vision is therefore unique.”
    David Wills
    University at Albany-SUNY

    “When she films La Nouba, Djebar views her appropriation of the camera as a challenge to colonial and patriarchal domination, an important political and symbolic event in the liberation and empowerment of Algerian women.”
    Mimi Mortimer
    University of Colorado, Boulder

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us