Lifetime Achievement
Algeria, France / 1991 / French dialogue with English subtitles / Colour / 35 mm / 82 minutes
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A recurring theme in Rachid Bouchareb's work is the search for identity and the physical and spiritual search for 'home'. In 1991's 'Cheb' these ideas are fluently articulated through the story of 19-year old Merwan, the son of Algerian immigrants in France. Having grown up considering himself French, he is suddenly deported to Algeria, where he is immediately conscripted into the army. Despite his heritage, Merwan faces hostility and rejection in Algeria. Confronted with an indifferent society, Merwan is cast in the curious position of being considered a foreigner in the land of his parents. His experiences in the army soon embitter him to the point where, driven to desperation, he hatches a scheme to return, illegally, to France, with his girlfriend Malika. But Merwan's problems are far from over as he struggles to cross the border, in search of his homeland.


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