NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 129

Algerian audiences took an interest in cinema very early on. At the turn of the twentieth century, two trail-blazing cameramen, the Lumière brothers, travelled around Algeria and made numerous small films that lasted 90 seconds each. The first fiction film produced by an Algerian is arguably Ghattassine Essahra, made by Tahar Hannache shortly before the start of the armed Revolution. He had the help of his long-standing friend, Djamel Chanderli, who resurfaced again, a few years later, as a pioneer of the militant cinema of the aln [National Liberation Army]. Tahar Hannache, director and cameraman, portrayed the difficulties encountered by Algerian peasants wishing to water their palm groves near the Tolga. They were forced to dive into the wells, holding their breath, while the European settlers, for their part, were using powerful pumps. Finished in 1954, the colonial authorities prevented the film’s release around the same time that insurrection of November 1 started. Djamel Chanderli joine