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FILM | Checks and Balances (Contrepouvoirs)

  • Maison Francaise, East Gallery, Buell Hall 515 West 116th Street New York, NY United States (map)

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Screening and discussion with filmmaker Malek Bensmaïl, in conversation with Madeleine Dobie and Mohamed Amer Meziane.

Algerian documentary filmmaker Malek Bens­maïl set up his camera in the news­room of the famous daily paper El Watan, the spea­rhead of the Alge­rian inde­pendent press, to film the proce­dures and thought processes behind jour­na­lism during the last presi­den­tial elec­tion. Accom­mo­da­ted since Alge­ria’s Bloody Decade of the 1990’s in the “House of the Press,” the jour­na­lists of the famous daily news­pa­per El Watan await the comple­tion of their new offices, a symbol of their inde­pen­dence.

“My camera is embed­ded in their news­room as they follow the events of this new Alge­rian spring… President Boute­flika has set his sights on a 4th term… Beyond what we call the Arab revo­lu­tions and other media­ti­zed terms, I wanted this film to serve as a memo­rial to the women and men, young and less young, who battle daily to safe­guard the free­dom of infor­ma­tion in a poli­ti­cally and socially fossi­li­zed coun­try.” – Malek Bensmaïl

Event co-sponsored by the Maison Francaise, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and Middle East Institute, Film and Media Studies, and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life.