Mediterranean women in film and television: Samia Meziane, Algerian actress

"As actors, we want [our] films to be confronted to an audience”


Mediterranean women in film and television: Samia Meziane, Algerian actress

Algerian actress Samia Meziane speaks to El Watan Weekend about acting in Chérif Aggoun’s latest film, The Heroine, as well as about Algerian cinema and its distribution.


 In The Heroine, Algerian director Chérif Aggoun’s latest film, you play the part of a courageous mother. You have thus returned to cinema for the first time since Karim Bahloul's Le voyage à Alger

Chérif Aggoun contacted me to the play the part of Houria. He had just seen me in Le voyage à Alger (lit. "The journey to Algiers"). There was a good atmosphere during the shooting especially with the other young actresses. The shooting took place in Sidi Moussa. It lasted six weeks. It's difficult to judge the film after having seen it on screen. You always tend to say that you didn't do this or that, that you should have reacted this way and not that way, do better.

 But the Algerian public hasn't seen Voyage à Algeryet...

I don't understand. Cinema is a popular art par excellence. We make movies to be seen by the public. We don't make films for premières where only journalists and professionals will see them. Voyage à Alger has toured the world and has been awarded at several film festivals… It's therefore unfortunate to not be allowed to watch the film in Algeria. As actors, we want [our] films to be confronted to an audience. It’s up to the members of the audience to judge, to tell us what they think about it. 

 Film theatres are a recurring issue. And one notices that film professionals do not really speak up to request that these cinemas be opened up to public...

We are somehow used to this situation. I have met young people in their thirties who have never set foot inside a film theatre. They don't know what one is. For them cinema, and television are one and the same thing.

 What do you think of Algerian films produced in recent years?

It has been irregular. There have been good films and others that are less so. I think there is a real problem in the preparation stage before shooting. We don't look at the small details. Before starting to film, we don't arrange everything as it should be. Filming is not done in studios but in real settings, so there are inconveniences, external elements. Often, we are not prepared for this. Sometimes the script has to be changed because of these unexpected events.

 In some films, actors are sometimes not well directed…

I always feel the need to be managed, the need to trust a director who has a clear vision of what he wants and who is able to communicate with me. Only then can I contribute something while being at ease.

 We have good actors. Directors should not confine them to the same roles, the same characters, or the same gestures. 

 I think that Algeria should have a specialised film school to train, not only actors, but also cinematographers, sound engineers... Today, there aren't many cinema technicians. They have sadly not be replaced. If four different films started shooting at the same time, it would be difficult to find a sound engineer, due to this lack [of technicians].

 Do we need film studios? Or, as some think, are Algeria's natural landscapes enough?

We do have beautiful natural sceneries. But it's not enough. It's important to have studios. Instead of shooting in a building, disturbing people and being disturbed, it's better to shoot in a studio, to build a building.

 It all also depends on the production's means. And I think that producers should have the means to make films.


Source: El Watan Week End

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