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Film review: Papicha

Papicha is a film by Mounia Meddour from 2019 co-produced by Algeria, Qatar, Belgium and France. “Papicha” in French from Algeria means “stylish girl”. The dramatic film tells the story of Nedjma, a student in Algiers. It happens at a time when in the 1990s Algeria was having a civil war. Nedjam refuses, however, to surrender the situation. She has a passion for fashion and dreams of becoming a stylist.  At night, she escapes from her school to enjoy the nightlife and sell her dressmaking. While the situation in Algeria is deteriorating, she decides to organise a fashion show at her school anyway.

Papicha is interesting because it brings to light young Algerian women during the civil war. It exposes the struggles they face in their lives, the hopes they have. In this school for girls, the girls help each other with the various issues they have to deal with. During this civil war, they are losing their liberty. And Papicha shows these women trying to resist this oppression by organising a fashion show. The film stages well women’s oppression, the control on their lives. 

This film was highly appreciated by the public. Moreover, it has received 9 nominations and 2 prizes. Papicha received in France the César of the best first film and best young promising actress for the main actress Lyna Khoudri.

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