CINEFEST 2016 at The New School April 15th & 22nd, 2016 is a showcase of recent films from across the Spanish-speaking world curated by The New School’s Foreign Languages department.
This year’s films are from Chile, Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. The films are in Spanish without subtitles. It’s an opportunity to hear some of the may different Spanish accents from around the world.
“Wilaya,” a 2012 Spanish film directed by Pedro Pérez Rosado, is a story about what happens when you immigrate to another country, transform yourself into a person of that country, and then have to go back where you came from.
It’s the story of Fatimetu, a Sahrawi woman who inherits the family tent in Algeria and responsibility for her handicapped sister after 16 years of living on her own in Spain.
“Sahrawi” is Arabic for “someone of the desert.” The Sahrawi (Saharawi) are a Berber-Tuareg people of the western Sahara. Berbers are the people of North Africa. They were the Muslim conquerers of Spain. Tuareg are the blue-turbaned desert traders who still drive caravans across the Sahara.
Today many Sahrawi live in refugee camps in western Algeria as a result of the unsettled Spanish decolonization of Western Sahara (Spanish Sahara).
It’s striking how Spanish the main character Fatimetu (played by Nadhira Mohamed) appears. She actually is Sahrawi, but carries herself very differently from the others in this film. Perhaps the takeaway from this story is that regardless of our heritage and where we were raised, we naturally absorb the culture of the people in the place where we live.