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Their Algeria

Fall Grants 2019
Current project status:

Lina Soualem / Feature Documentary / France, Algeria, Switzerland, Qatar / 2020 / 70 min / Original Language: Arabic, French / Interests: Creative Documentary


After 62 years of living together, Aïcha and Mabrouk, my grandparents, are separating. They now live in two separate buildings, facing each other. I didn’t understand their separation. No one explained it to me. I don’t know their story. No one told it to me. Their silence troubled me. Aïcha and Mabrouk got married in 1952, in the village of Laouamer in Algeria, without knowing each other. Two years later, they settled in Thiers, a medieval French town where they have been living for over 60 years. Mabrouk worked his entire life as a polisher in a knife-making factory. Aïcha followed a husband she did not know and started a family with him. As I try to understand their separation, it leads me back to Algeria and to the silence that exile has imposed on two generations, my father’s and mine. I discover the persistent suffering of their uprooting. An uprooting they can’t describe. With them, and with the help of my father Zinedine, I’m off to search for this story of exile, of bonds that are unmade, of suffering and pride—which profoundly affected my grandparents and an entire generation of Algerians who immigrated to France.


Lina Soualem
Lina Soualem
Marie Balducchi

About the Director

Lina Soualem is a French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker and actress. After studying History and Political Science at La Sorbonne University in Paris, she started working in journalism and as a programmer in film festivals, looking to combine her interests for cinema and the study of contemporary Arab societies. After working as a programmer at the International Human Rights Film Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she moved back to Paris where she is now based. She worked as a programmer for the Palest’In&Out Contemporary Art festival in Paris. She acted in three feature films and currently works on film and documentary projects as a director, author and assistant director.

Production Company Profile

AGAT Films / EX NIHILO is a collective of 8 associate producers that combines the individual work of developing, producing and promoting the filmmakers’ works with a collective approach based on financial, editorial and human unity between the producers. The company produces both cinema and television, fiction and documentary and is well-established thanks to great successes.

Awards and Festival History


"Visions du Reel 2020 (WP – online edition)
Cinemed 2020
El Gouna FF 2020"



  • Main Contact

    Marie Balducchi

    AGAT Films & Cie

  • Main Contact

    Lina Soualem


  • Production Company

    AGAT Films / EX NIHILO

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