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April 11, 2016

The Geneviève McMillan-Reba Stewart Fellowship:
Hassen Ferhani

The McMillan-Stewart Fellowship in Distinguished Filmmaking was established at Harvard’s Film Study Center in 1997 with a generous gift from Geneviève McMillan in memory of her late friend, Reba Stewart, to support outstanding Francophone directors from Africa or of African descent. While past awardees have included such founding figures of African cinema as Med Hondo and Ousmane Sembène, fellowships have often been given to recognize such emerging talents as Tariq Teguia and Mati Diop.

Such is the case of the most recent fellow, Hassen Ferhani. Born in Algiers in 1986, Ferhani became active in the cinema while still a teenager by working with the cine-club of the Algerian arts organization Association Chrysalide. His short films Les Baies d’Alger (2006) and Tarzan, Don Quixote and Us (2013) were exhibited internationally. His debut feature film, Roundabout in My Head, has won acclaim at festivals in Marseille, Carthage and Turin. – David Pendleton

Special thanks: Rachael Rakes, Dennis Lim—Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Special Event Tickets $12 - Free admission with student ID
Hassen Ferhani in person

Monday April 11 at 7pm

Roundabout in My Head
(Fi rassi rond-point)

Directed by Hassen Ferhani
France/Algeria 2015, DCP, color, 100 min. Arabic with English subtitles

The men employed in the slaughterhouses of Algiers are a cross section of Algeria’s working class. Young and old, some are natives of the capital, but most come from the countryside. Hassen Ferhani spent two months filming the workers in one such slaughterhouse to fashion a picture of contemporary Algeria. Roundabout in My Head is not an observational portrait of people at work; there is little gore or viscera onscreen. Rather, Ferhani watches and listens as the men talk to each other and to his camera about their lives, their prospects for the future, and their thoughts about Algeria today. The film’s power lies in Ferhani’s keen eye for striking images that neither beautify nor objectify and in his seemingly effortless ability to reveal his subjects as a group of fascinating individuals whose hopes and fears the director locates precisely at the intersection of the local and the universal. DCP courtesy the filmmaker.

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