Zerda
and the Songs of
                  Forgetting



Tuesday 27th February  2024, Metrolands Studios, London, 18:30 - 21:30

The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetting (1982) revisits the colonisation of the Maghreb. Drawn from French newsreels from 1912–42, the film employs experimental montage to search for the truth and reveal the resistance across this thirty-year period. The soundtrack brings together multivocal chants and avant-garde music to form a furious swan song to colonial violence. Djebar creates a complex picture of Algeria's colonial history, focusing particularly on the role and representation of women during this period.

Screening with Katia Kameli’s Bledi a possible scenario (2004). Throughout the video, image, sound and language (spoken, sung or written – on street signs or in the subtitles) are combined, and re-combined, to reveal ‘Algeria’ as a site of competing discourses, a culture in the constant process of ‘becoming’ (Stuart Hall 1990). We are presented with fragments of individual yet intersecting micro- narratives – alternative, partial, local perspectives, which together counter the persistently reductive, totalising images of Algeria in certain Western media. 

With a specially produced sound piece consisting of Algerian songs of resistance, voice notes and field recordings by Emma Bouraba and Bint Mbareh.

After the screening we will host a reading circle where participants are invited to read, share, and reflect on texts that respond to the themes of the programme and Assia Djebar’s writing more generally - including the Song, inverting the colonial gaze and oral histories. You are invited to bring any piece of writing to share in the reading circle including a poem, short text or essay except, but there is no pressure or expectation to do so.

Link to Tickets