Yamina Bachir’s debut film, Rachida (2002), was the culmination of five years of work. It deals with political unrest in Algeria, as experienced by a dedicated teacher confronted by former students who have turned to terrorism. The picture was the first 35mm feature directed by an Algerian woman to achieve a wide release in that country and screen as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard series. Rachida won awards from festivals in London, Mexico City, Marrakesh, Amiens and Namur.
Bachir was born in Algiers in 1954. After studying editing at England’s National Film and Television School, she worked as an editor and screenwriter, co-writing the script to Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina’s Sandstorm (1982), which screened at the Cannes and Chicago Film Festivals. She also edited Until the End of Time (2017), directed by her daughter Yasmine Chouikh. Bachir turned to foreign investors to get the money needed to make Rachida, as there was little funding available in Algiers. Her most recent film, Hier…aujourd’hui et demain (2010), is a historical documentary about the roles women played in the Algerian War of Independence.