Filmmaker Djamila Sahraoui is a product of the feminization of Algerian cinema that became dominant in the last decade of the twentieth century. More than thirty years since novelist Assia Djebar came onto the scene with her feminist stance, Algerian women are finally rendering representations of Algerian society different from those of their male counterparts. Considering her three earlier documentaries, one finds recurring themes that also run through Sahraoui’s latest film, Yema, including violence against women, the urgent need to resist, and the Kabyle landscape with its olive groves and wild mountains.
Yema is a film about the struggles being waged around the world and throughout history by men who aim to conquer. Vincent Ostria has called this into question in his review for the magazine Les InRocks; however, I would argue that Djamila Sahraoui’s film, seen through the Islamic experience, belongs to a universal discourse, much like the Greek tragedies the filmmaker has compared it to.