This spring we had the honor of hosting noted actor, screenwriter and director, Lyes Salem to Bowdoin College. Mr. Salem presented his second full-length film, L’Oranais (The Man from Oran), released in France in November to great acclaim.
Often in portrayals of the Algerian war, Algerians are presented as nationalist heroes fighting the proverbial struggle against fascism, imperialism, and foreign occupation. Their victory is presented as the dawn of justice, freedom, and progress for a people who have finally smashed the fetters of colonialism. While such narratives are compelling and often faithful to actual events, they often leave out the aftermath of the war. Taking a road less traveled, director Lyes Salem’s The Man from Oran uses fictional characters to tell the lesser well-known story of the events succeeding the Algerian victory in 1962.
Mr. Salem also visited with students in French 2408: Contemporary France through the Media, leading a lively discussion of his films and his life as an Algerian actor and director living in Paris.