DER Documentary

La Memoire Dure

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by Rossella Ragazzi
color, 80 min, 2001




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Ibrahim lived with his uncle in the woods in Mali, for a few days he attended Koran school. He arrived in France using his cousin's passport. Alpha comes from Liberia, he lived in the city and during the war his family was dispersed; he arrived in France with a false passport. Nawel lived in Algeria where his large family was forced to have him adopted and taken to France. All these children attended the same preparation class for learning French in a compulsory school in Paris taught by the teacher Pascale. This fast course (total immersion) is aimed at inserting them as soon as possible in normal primary school classes.

For 9 months, the film director, an anthropologist teaching Visual Anthropology at the University of Tromso in Norway, filmed these children from various nationalities, showing how they were received in France and the relationship established between teachers and pupils. The children learn not only the language but also the values of their host society. Each child has strengths that often cannot be utilized effectively by the school but that are brought to light in the film. The struggle and endurance of the teacher reveals her to be a dedicated and passionate educator.

The children, their parents or care takers, teachers and administrators were involved as part of the filmmaking process. Issues of immigration, cultural assimilation, social integration and educational philosophy are analyzed within the context of this film.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Jury Prize, Nuoro International Film Festival Italy, 2000
Tromsø International Film Festival, Norway 2001
Festival International du Cinema du Reel, Paris, France, Centre Pompidou 2001
Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Musee de l’Homme, Paris 2001
Beeld for Beeld, Anthropological Film Festival, Amsterdam 2001
British Film Institute, London, Conference: Global Image or Global Media? U.K. 2001
Volda International Documentary Film Festival, Norway 2001
Festival Amiata delle Culture, Siena, Italy 2000
Nordland Fylkeskommune: Seminar of the Department for Culture, Bodø, Norway, 2001
Nordic Film Association, Nafa Festival: Tromsø, Norway 2000
Drammen: Bygg Broer ikke murer, Seminar of Drammen Kommune, Norway 2001
University of Joensuu, Carelia, Conference on Visual Anthropology: "Strangers at home", 2001 Finland
Comune di Pistoia: Festival di Cinema Etnografico, 2001 Italy
Dublin, International Conference on Cross Cultural Studies, University of Dublin, 2001 Ireland
Peace Conference Unesco, Tromsø 2000
Conference sur la Francophonie, University of Tromsø French Embassy, Tromsø 2000
"Buiding Bridges, Not Walls", Seminar on Crosscultural Communication, Drammen Academy, Norway 2001 Tromsø International Film Festival, Norway 2001
Volda International Documentary Film Festival, Norway 2001
University of Rome, Series of Seminars "Autobiography and Storytelling", Ethnographic Department, Italy, 2001
RAI, London, 2001

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