Palme d’Or classic screens in Windhoek


To mark the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s independence and as part of the Namibian Film Awards and Screenings, AfricAvenir presents the film classic and winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or in 1975, Chronicle of the Years of Fire by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina.

The screening will take place on Saturday 17 November at 19h00 at the Goethe-Centre Auditorium in Windhoek, with special guest H.E. Lahcene Kaid-Slimane, Ambassador of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in attendance.

The film, in French and Arabic with English Subtitles, stars Jorgo Voyagis (Ahmed), Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (Milhoud) and Sid Ali Kouiret (Said).

Chronicle of the Years of Fire, also known as Chronicle of the Burning Years, is a film written and directed by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina. In 1975, this lyrical, epic account of the events that led to the Algerian war of liberation from France was the first film from North Africa and the Arab world to be awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Despite winning one of cinema’s most prestigious prizes, Chronicle of the Years of Fire remains largely unseen and unheard of. Although a classic, the film has long been nearly impossible to find. Due to its monumental importance for cinema history, AfricAvenir put all its efforts into recovering the film and making it accessible to Namibian audiences.

The film follows an Algerian peasant as he fights alongside the Allied forces in World War II, returns home and joins the resistance against French colonial rule, and dies valiantly in battle. His son continues the struggle, and the film ends on 11 November 1954, the official outbreak of the war for liberation.

Throughout the film there is also one other prominent character who appears from time to time, a homeless madman by the name of Miloud (played by the director himself), who serves as an unofficial narrator, providing some comic relief, while preaching mostly to an empty graveyard, with remarkable wisdom on the mostly terrible events that will unfold.

What’s immediately noticeable is this was no ordinary production. Every scene is a triumph in staging and choreography, and there are many large scale set pieces filled with extras, along with sequences which rival the best of Hollywood epics, often shot from wide and ultra wide angles by famed cinematographer Marcello Gatti (The Battle of Algiers) to really capture the immense scope of the action.

Chronicle of the Years of Fire is an extraordinary film; one whose message remains just as important and relevant now as ever.


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