My favourite film is John Ford's The Searchers. It is a very important film for me because it founded my desire for cinema. I was still a teenager and my father, who was passionate about westerns, watched all the John Ford films on television. A Berber from southern Algeria, my father is a man who didn't have the chance to go to school but when he watched John Ford's films, I had the impression that he was changing. He was coming out of his social condition. We don't measure how much cinema can help us to go beyond our lives, our everyday life, to sublimate things and give us courage to move forward in spite of everything. It was therefore through my father's eyes that I discovered the magic and strength of cinema. It was him, without even knowing it, who opened this door for me.
Ah! It was a long process! I grew up in France in a council housing estate. Cinema was far from us. It was another world. An inaccessible world. A world we didn't even suspect existed. I entered the cinema through television. At that time, television had quality programmes. I saw everything: thrillers, series, detective films, auteur films... Gradually, my desire was refined and strengthened, my identity as a filmmaker was born. And then there is life, the experiences of life, whether personal or not, enrich our work as filmmakers. Cinema is not separate from life. Generally speaking, the filmmakers who touch me the most are those who have lived well before entering the cinema. To have lived, to have been confronted with real life brings authenticity, an additional force in creation in general. We know what we are talking about because we have lived it. I would like to say that everything is possible even if nothing is won in advance. You have to work hard. You also have to be hungry for cinema. Make it a necessity, a vital need like eating or sleeping. Taking hold of real issues through cinema, offering another viewpoint, opening up another path are things to which I really aspire. So it was quite late that I decided to become a filmmaker after having already had several other professional and personal experiences.
In 20 years' time, I hope to have realised all my film projects, and there are many of them! To help to rebuild cinema in Algeria, because Algeria is fundamentally a land of cinema!
To support the younger generations to take over, to continue to make the stories necessary for the reconstruction of a country like Algeria, to continue to dream, too! I have always considered cinema as a healing weapon.