Hassen Ferhani & Nabil Djedouani
Algeria | 2011 | 54 min
Languages : Arabic, Bambara, French
Subtitles : English, French
Afric Hotel (VdR 2011) focuses on migrants from Sub- Saharan Africa transiting through Algiers. One of them is a lift operator—always with a book in his hand—, another is a shoe- maker and the last works in construction. Hassen Ferhani and Nabil Djedouani’s camera follows these protagonists who are all too often ignored as they interact with the people of Algiers.
Co-directed with Nabil Djedouani, Afric Hotel gives a face and a voice to the immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa that we do not want to see. Living in a hotel in Algiers, they are a lift operator by day, a street cobbler and a construction worker. First at a distance, then in movement, the filmmakers follow them in their daily interactions with the people of Algiers. However, Afric Hotel is not a film “about” people, but rather “with” them. As they cannot shoot in the hotel at night, they give a camera to the protagonists who film their rooms. Due to a technical gaffe, these scenes are mute. This makes them even stronger, highlighting the men’s extreme solitude despite their improvised rituals. Yet, there is nothing sinister in Afric Hotel. Even if they face day-to-day racism, Brahim, Adam and Ismaïl have their eyes on the horizon, and their interactions with the local inhabitants are often captivating. Stories of exploitation are told, a vegetable is discussed, veiled terms about Algerian society are exchanged in this film imbued with empathy and profound humanism.
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