Ajyal Film Festival 2022

All Films

Their Algeria (Leur Algérie)

Special Screening - Ajyal Film Festival 2020

Lina Soualem / Feature Documentary / France, Algeria, Switzerland, Qatar / 2020 / 72 min / Colour / In Arabic, French / Arabic, English subtitles / Middle East Premiere
Rated: Parental guidance is advised. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.


After 62 years of living together, Lina’s grandparents, Aïcha and Mabrouk, have decided to separate. They have moved out of their shared apartment and opted to live in two buildings facing each other instead. The enduring couple came together from Algeria to Thiers, a small medieval town in the middle of France, more than six decades ago. Side by side, they have experienced this chaotic immigrant life. For Lina, their separation is an opportunity to question their long journey of exile and their silence.

Aïcha and Mabrouk got married in 1952, in the village of Laouamer in Algeria, without knowing each other. Their story is like many Algerian families of the time, uprooted from their home with a promise of a better one across the sea, one which they never truly succeeded in making. Through this intimate portrait of the filmmakers own grandparents, ‘Their Algeria’ shines a light on the infinite and often closely guarded secrets of an entire generation, allowing us to share in both the laughter of shared moments and the tears of dissolution.

About the Director

Lina Soualem is a French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker and actress, born and based in Paris. After studying History and Political Science at La Sorbonne University, Lina started working in journalism and as a programmer in film festivals, looking to combine her interests in cinema and the study of contemporary Arab societies. Lina worked as a programmer for the International Human Rights Film Festival in Buenos Aires and the Palest’In & Out Festival in Paris, among others. Lina’s debut feature documentary 'Their Algeria' premiered in Visions du Réel International Film Festival 2020. 'Their Algeria' recently received the First Film prize in CINEMED Montpellier International Festival of Mediterranean Film & the El Gouna Star for the Best Arab Documentary in El Gouna Film Festival. Lina acted in three feature films directed by Hafsia Herzi, Hiam Abbass and Rayhana. She is currently developing her second feature documentary 'Bye Bye Tiberias', and works as an author of fiction, documentaries and TV series.


Lina Soualem
Marie Balducchi
Gladys Joujou
Making of Films, AKKA Films, Doha Film Institute, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel
Lina Soualem
Sales Company
Sweet Spot Docs
Production Company
AGAT Films & Cie
Lina Soualem

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