Leur Algérie

Their Algeria

Lina Soualem

FR / DZ / CH / QA
Audience Award

This film has been nominated for the Audience Award endowed with 1,000 euro. Please vote after watching the movie.
You can find an overview of all nominated films here.

»We never talked, we’re not going to start now.«
Aïcha in Their Algeria

An old video recording: Zinedine films his daughter Lina and mother Aïcha. Later on, his father Mabrouk, too. »Speak Arabic together, it’s a shame not to!«, says Zinedine. Generally though, his parents hardly speak to each other at all. And little Lina doesn’t understand Arabic.

About 25 years later, it’s Lina holding the camera, trying to unlock her grandparents’ silence. Aïcha is a strong, energetic woman. She has split from her husband after 62 years of marriage, but continues to provide for him. And then there’s Mabrouk, a slim, introverted man who whiles his days away in the café of a shopping centre. Having emigrated from Algeria to France as a young couple, they look back on an eventful life. Lina’s attempts to get her grandparents to talk about their past usually end in nervous laughter or lingering silence. The memories of loss and violence are too painful, they’ve never been seen as really relevant up to now. Lina gently probes away at Aïcha and Mabrouk’s silence, ask questions, reconstructing things and teasing out new angles. »This is a painful memory«, says Mabrouk, when Lina shows him an old photo of his own parents. But when she later returns from her trip to her grandparents’ home village with new photos, Mabrouk’s face lights up. A tender exploration into family memory and a tribute to grandparents whose lives were defined by French colonialism.


Awards for ›Leur Algérie‹

First Feature AwardCINEMED 2020

Director / Cinematography / Sound

Lina Soualem


Gladys Joujou

Sound Design

Julie Tribout, Rémi Durel, Studio Obsidienne


Rémi Durel


Aïcha Aidaoui Soualem, Mabrouk Soualem, Zinedine Soualem, Nabil Soualem, Salem Laidaoui


Marie Balducchi, AGAT Films & Cie


Making of Films, AKKA Films, Doha Film Institute, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel



Portait of Lina Soualem

Lina Soualem

Lina Soualem is a French filmmaker and actress. After studying political science and history at the Sorbonne, she first worked as a journalist and curator for film festivals. Her debut film Their Algeria was included in the Panorama section of IFFF 2021 and dealt with her Algerian-French grandparents and the family history of her father Zinedine Soualem. Bye Bye Tiberias now looks further at her mother, Hiam Abbass, and had its world premiere at Venice International Film Festival.

Films by Lina Soualem
Bye Bye Tiberias 2023 | Their Algeria 2020