Protests have sprung up across North Africa since the Arab Spring in 2010. Algeria has been no exception and witnessed two years of unrest at the beginning of the decade; against rising unemployment, housing shortages and soaring inflation, amongst other things. It has been fairly calm of late. However, sparked initially by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to stand for a fifth term, the Revolution of Smiles erupted almost overnight.
Unprecedented since the Algerian Civil War, despite toppling their embattled leader they continued throughout 2019 and beyond. The Hirak came to symbolise a general unhappiness with the ruling classes, who have dominated politics for decades, and with a number of social issues which adversely affected the young. Using just a smartphone, Karim Aïnouz films Nardjes A., a protestor, as she spends her days joining the movement.
Nardjes A. is a lively film about the power of peaceful dissent and what you can achieve when a large group of people come together for a common cause. The way Ainouz shoots allows his audience to get inside the action in a way a camera crew wouldn’t. Making it feel organic and authentic. Nardjes is an intelligent and lively subject. By glimpsing the protests through her eyes and in the context of her life we’re afforded a unique perspective.
Nardjes A screened at IDFA.