The movie was banned in Algeria but well-received by critics and international film festivals.
Rabat – The movie “Papicha,” directed by Algerian writer and filmmaker Mounia Medour, won two awards at the 45th Cesar Ceremony in Paris on Friday, February 28.
The festival was organized by the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques.
Papicha won Best First Film and its young actress Lyna Khoudri earned the Best Female Newcomer award.
The movie tells the story of young women’s resistance in the 90s in Algeria. Papicha follows courageous young women who refuse to give in to fundamentalism and protest against the banning of their fashion show by radical Islamists. Nedjma, an 18-year old student, decides to fight for her freedom and independence in a hostile environment.
Papicha was released in France on September 9, 2019. It was later set to be released in Algeria and Belgium on September 16, 2019. The movie is produced by the Ink Connection, High Sea Productions, Scope Pictures, and Tayda Film.
It was in the race for the Oscars’ best foreign films award and nominated for the “Un Certain Regard Award” in Cannes. The film cast finally received good news this week, winning two awards at the Cesar ceremony, also known as the “French Oscars.”
Papicha has been banned in Algeria, however.
The Algerian authorities canceled the movie’s release without giving any official statements or reasons, according to Le Monde.
In a Facebook post, the managing office of Riadh El Fath Cinema announced that “Papicha premiere has been canceled.”
“The national movie premiere has been canceled for internal reasons,” said Redha Talmat, the Director of Algerian Centre for Cinema Development.
The movie tackles gender equality and numerous facets of political and religious conservatism, a sensitive theme for Algerian authorities and a large part of the public opinion.
Since the beginning of ongoing anti-establishment demonstrations in Algeria, many have been taking to the streets to march for freedom of speech and social justice.
Having started last year as demonstrations against “army rule,” the mass anti-establishment movements are still going on, with demonstrators still calling for democracy, freedom of speech, and the “immediate release” of political prisoners.
Many intellectuals, journalists, and movie figures, including the cast of Papicha, have joined the demonstrations.