As part of the D.C. Francophonie Cultural Festival 2020, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy present the screening of the documentary 143 Sahara Street.
For the follow-up to his rightly celebrated feature debut Roundabout in My Head (2015), Algerian director Hassen Ferhani places his camera in a tiny teahouse on the edge of the Trans-Sahara highway and introduces audiences to Malika, the venerable owner of this open-air hut deep in the desert, frequented by long-haul truck drivers, the occasional intrepid tourist, and “locals” in an area where “local” might range anywhere within a 200-mile radius. As is immediately clear, Malika is an extraordinary woman whose isolated living circumstances have done nothing to dull her sense of humor or her singular spirituality.
Taking his cue from his subject’s playfulness, Ferhani creates an unforgettable film portrait that skirts the fertile border between fiction and documentary and toys with genres like the Western and the road movie without ever leaving the confines of this small parcel of desert land. Despite its geographical limits, this is a profoundly expansive film that has a great deal to tell us about present-day Algeria.
For this film, Ferhani was awarded the prize for Best Emerging Director at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival.
143 Sahara Street / 143 Rue du Désert
By Hassen Ferhani
2019 - France/Algeria - 100 min