An Interview with Hinde Boujemaa (Director)
Why the Revolution Took Place
Q: Watching Aida going around looking for a home with her son, listening to her tearfully speak about their life, I came to understand her problems and feelings of discontent with the government. Can you tell us how the film came about?
HB: I’m not sure if this is a proper explanation, but this film was made because of a chance meeting with Aida. On the day the dictator departed, I went out to the streets. I wanted to record everything I could. Just then, I came upon Aida as she was about to trespass into a house. “Isn’t the revolution more important for you?” I asked. She replied, “We can’t do anything without a home.” That interested me and so I decided to follow her. I came to an understanding of why the revolution happened, thanks to her.
Q: Why did you choose her instead of the revolutionary activists?
HB: It was more important for me to follow her. She represents the poor class. There are many people like her. That is in fact why the revolution occurred. I tried to understand poverty by filming her. When there are no unemployment benefits, social security is only half the minimum wage, rent is higher than minimum wage can afford, and corruption is rampant: It’s obvious that there is a national problem.
Q: Why do you think the revolution took place?
HB: There were many people who were disgusted with their situation. They could not bear it any longer and started the uprising. They were all hopeful for what the revolution could do. They expected their lives to get better. But in fact, the elections after the revolution did not bring the results they wished for. Again the depressing life continued. However, the revolution did evict the dictator and we gained freedom of the press and freedom of speech. We are now able to, for example, criticize politicians, which was not possible before.
Q: The film opens with a fight between Aida and her son, and ends with their fight. What was your intention?
HB: During the one year of filming, they were fighting over and over again. They fight every day. It is a repetition. There may be a slight change in their relationship over time, but Aida’s life is a constant repeat of itself, without seeing any progress. Filming by her side, I discovered the reality of my own country and felt anger and helplessness like her. I felt, we could do nothing against the state.
Q: Who did you make this film for?
HB: I didn’t even think about that when I was making it. I had a subject and I wanted to film, that’s why I made it. I had no idea “who is my audience” or what audience I wished for. A film is a story. If it is properly completed as a story, it should work with anyone in any country. This was my first film. My next film will be a fiction. I like documentary because of the time you can spend on it, so I will probably make documentary again if chances come my way. I am still in the learning process, so I hope to try my hand at diverse types of films in the future.
(Compiled by Yamada Kotone)
Interviewers: Yamada Kotone, Nomura Yukihiro / Interpreter: Catherine Cadou / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Masuya Shuichi / Video: Masuya Shuichi / 2013-10-14