This is a FREE screening with a limited number of complimentary tickets. Please RSVP via our virtual-cinema-order-form; you will then be emailed a unique screening link for the film that will be active from Oct 16–22.
‘Papicha’ is Algerian slang for ‘a cool girl.’ Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri) is a free spirited 18 year-old student during Algeria’s Civil War in the late ‘90s, who refuses to be intimidated by growing conservative religious forces as she pursues fun with her girlfriends and engages in underground dress-making. She stages her resistance by organizing a fashion show.
“Anger and pride simmer and crackle through the feature debut of Algerian director Mounia Meddour. They illuminate and energize what might otherwise have been a dutiful story about a student in an Algiers girls’ university hall of residence in the 1990s who is determined to put on a fashion show…. The emotions are there in every claustrophobic camera angle, in thriller-tinged scenes that show female self-expression being denied and muffled both by enemies and so-called friends. And they flame up in Lyna Khoudri’s incendiary performance as the film’s heroine, a baby-faced good-time girl who gradually turns into a feminist warrior.… the film’s most rewarding strand is the inventive, pointed way in which clothes and textiles are used as metaphors both for female constraints and female defiance. The sight of Nedjma with pins sticking out of her mouth, transforming a ‘haik’ (the traditional Maghrebi women’s robe) into a seductive ball dress, is perhaps this feisty, unapologetic film’s single most telling image.” (Screen Daily)
“Terrible things happen; but by celebrating the women’s intimacy and naïve exuberance, [director] Meddour eases the suffocating noose of religious extremism. And by making powerful visual choices—like Nedjma clawing frantically at the earth for beets to dye bloodstained fabric—the director and her cinematographer, Léo Lefèvre, forge a language of rebellion that’s as beautiful as it is bitter.” (NY Times)