Rachid Bouchareb Highlights the Arab World in Film

Rachid Bouchareb has never been intimidated by controversy, boldly addressing social issues and relationships between the Arab world and the West through the medium of film. His successes have included Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law), highlighting the Algerian struggle for independence from France as told through the experiences of three Algerian brothers based in France. Released in 2010, Outside the Law was a follow up to his 2006 film Indigènes (Days of Glory) which focused on discrimination by French authorities against North Africans who were fighting side by side with them in the French army with the goal of liberating France from Nazi occupation during WWII. Although the English title is rendered Days of Glory, the French title translates as Natives – a reference to native North Africans, including Algerians, who supported the French through this tumultuous time in history, despite discriminatory treatment.

With Algerian ancestry, which has clearly been influential in his life, Bouchareb was born near Paris, France, on 1 September 1953 and started his career with the state television production company of France where he worked as assistant director from 1977 through to 1983. While his career continued in broadcasting for a time, working for both Antenne 2 and TF1, his passion was directing, and in the 1980s he began making short films, with his first feature film Baton Rouge being released in 1985.

His 1995 film Poussières de vie (Dust of Life) received an Academy Award nomination, and was among the final five nominations as the Algerian submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category. In addition to the 1996 Oscar nomination, the film won the 1995 Young Artist Awards presented by the American non-profit Young Artist Foundation. In 2001, Bouchareb’s film Little Senegal was the Algerian Foreign Language Film submission for the 73rd Academy Awards, and although it was not nominated, it reinforced his reputation as a talented director.

Future projects for Rachid Bouchareb include three movies focusing on the constantly evolving relationship between the Arab world and the west, particularly the United States. Based in Los Angeles, the first of Bouchareb’s three English language movies is called Just Like a Woman, starring Sienna Miller and Golshifteh Farahani, and follows the journey of two very different women with the common bond of fleeing from difficult circumstances as they travel from Chicago to New Mexico. The second movie is a comedy named Bellville’s Cop which follows the daily lives and interactions of a female LAPD officer and her French-Arabic male partner. The third, as yet unnamed, movie will be more politically oriented and is set to star Forest Whitaker. No doubt Rachid Bouchareb fans will be looking forward to viewing these upcoming movies.