Part of SFFILM Festival
143 Sahara Street
Along a single road running through Algeria, in the expansive Saharan desert, sits a lone café run by the brash, opinionated, yet hospitable Malika. Her establishment caters to all travelers needing respite from the road, offering them tea and a snack to accompany the stories that are exchanged. Observant and intimate, director Hassen Ferhani (Locarno’s Emerging Director awardee) films almost exclusively from within her shop, framing the lonely road and its inhabitants as Malika sees them, offering a view into her world that seems routine yet changes daily.
“During the course of the movie, as we meet Malika and her customers – some more than once – it becomes apparent that the café is not isolated. There are plans to put a superstore in the vicinity, and that poses a threat to Malika’s livelihood. It suddenly dawns on us that Ferhani isn’t making a film about a quaint little café, but about globalization. It’s a story about a changing world, told through the tales of peculiar characters going about their daily lives in a seemingly faraway place. Malika, far from being a funny old lady, might be one of the few sane people left, especially in comparison to some of the shop’s occidental characters.” –Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa
Hassen Ferhani is a director, writer, cinematographer, and editor. He made his feature documentary debut in 2011 with Afric Hotel. His second feature, Roundabout in My Head (2015), won the Best International Documentary prize at the Torino Film Festival. 143 Sahara Street is his third feature.
“[143 Sahara Street] has no genre. It is first and foremost cinema. I never said to myself that I was going to make a documentary, but that I am going to make a film with all the different tools cinema has to offer. I don’t really care about the genre before or after the making of the film. I am free to receive all that reality gives me.” –Hassen Ferhani, Variety
Language French, Arabic
Original Language Title 143 rue du désert
Director Hassen Ferhani
Producer Narimane Mari, Olivier Boischot
Editor Hassen Ferhani, Nina Khada, Stéphanie Sicard, Nadia Ben Rachid
Cinematographer Hassen Ferhani