Meet the New French Cinema Week filmmakers: Karim Moussaoui

Karim Moussaoui's first feature, UNTIL THE BIRDS RETURN, tells a series of stories that take place in his home country of Algeria. We asked Karim three questions about his films' strong relationships to place. 

UNTIL THE BIRDS RETURN premieres Saturday, April 28th at 7PM at the AFS Cinema

Austin Film Society: Describe how the identity of Algeria has become a central focus in your films.

Karim Moussaoui: When I direct films, I only tell stories that take place in Algeria.  My goal is never to give a glimpse of what one could call the identity of Algeria. I’m only giving a view of what can take place in Algeria. It’s a personal and subjective take, which has its limits.

Austin Film Society:  UNTIL THE BIRDS RETURN often utilizes wide angles. Can you talk about this strategy as it relates to the narrative? 

Karim MoussaouiWide angles contribute to my instinct to bring into existence, at the same time, my characters and the places in which they live. It’s this way of filming that can deliver to the audience much more information in a very small amount of time. The landscapes like the architecture, or the state of the public spaces, give a glimpse of the political and social context.

Austin Film Society: US audiences rarely see new films from Algeria. Can you describe the filmmaking scene in Algeria for the US audience? 

Karim MoussaouiCinema in Algeria has ceased being a national priority since the 1970s. This decline lasted until the beginning the 1990s, almost to the point of disappearing. During the 2000s, a few directors made films that were recognized in many international festivals. That allowed for a re-dynamization of Algerian cinema, without convincing the public powers of the necessity to put in place true mechanisms for its development.