Surrounded by the desolation of the Algerian Sahara, Malika runs a simple shop. Truck drivers, fortune seekers and adventurers can get a cup of tea and an omelette, cigarettes or water. There’s always a free chair next to her, at the small table against the wall. Malika sees the people coming through the square windows in the thick walls, and watches them as they leave. Anyone who doesn’t know her is curious about this woman here alone. Director Hassan Ferhani unhurriedly documents her conversations. A layered portrait gradually emerges of this independent woman in a world that seems to exist outside of time. Yet the present eventually arrives at this remote outpost, in the form of a large gas station with a restaurant, built right next to Malika’s shop.
Hassen Ferhani co- hosted the film club of the Chrysalide Association. In 2006, he directed his first short film, Les Baies d’Alger, which was selected for several international festivals. In 2008, while training at La Fémis, he directed the short documentary Le Vol du 140, and in 2010, he co- directed the medium-length documentary Africa Hotel with Nabil Djedouani. His Tarzan, Don Quichotte et nous (2013) was presented at Visions du réel and FID Marseille, among other festivals. Ferhani’s feature-length films are Roundabout in My Head (2016) and 143 Sahara Street (2019).
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