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Daughter of Keltoum (2001)
"La fille de Keltoum" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  10 April 2002 (France)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 230 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 2 critic

An extraordinary story of a young woman raised in Switzerland who travels back to Algeria, her birthplace, to meet and kill her natural mother, who abandoned her shortly after birth. Along ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Baya Belal ...
Jean-Roger Milo ...
Fatima Ben Saïdane ...
La femme répudiée
Deborah Lamy ...
Brahim Ben Salah ...
Le grand-père
Samira Draa ...
Mostefa Zerguine ...
Chauffeur car 1
Habib Zrafi ...
Lotfi Yahya Jedidi ...
Chauffeur bus 2 (as Lotfi Yahya)


An extraordinary story of a young woman raised in Switzerland who travels back to Algeria, her birthplace, to meet and kill her natural mother, who abandoned her shortly after birth. Along the way, she is exposed to the brutality of desert life and, in particular, the abuses that men heap upon women in fundamentalist, third world countries. Birth, death and life in general, have little meaning as people struggle for survival. The scenery is stark but at the same time beautiful and the faces of the characters that she meet are marvelous. The film was made in Tunisia, as it does not cast a particularly good light on Algerian men and probably could not have gotten permission to be filmed in Algeria where Sharia is the law of the land. Written by Bigdgun

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Release Date:

10 April 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Bent Keltoum  »

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User Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed it!
12 May 2004 | by (Somerset, England) – See all my reviews

Riveting and moving, this is a culture clash road-movie with shades of both 'Thelma & Louise' and 'Rabbit Proof Fence'.

Rallia, a young North African brought up in Switzerland by adoptive parents, arrives in the country of her birth to find Keltoum, the woman she believes abandoned her as a baby.

In the mountainous desert where the bus driver drops her, she first encounters members of her family: a gentle old man, her grandfather, and a terrified woman who turns out to be her mother's sister. But Keltoum herself remains elusive. Working in a luxury hotel in the city, she supposedly visits every week.

Rallia begins to take part in her new-found family's life. Her initially circumspect aunt becomes a companion, and accompanying her on her water rounds is a revelation.

But Rallia waits in vain for her mother to arrive and, feeling betrayed by her family's lies, decides to leave and look for her. On impulse she encourages her aunt to join her, and the two set off on a trip full of danger, adventure and a rather steep learning curve.

Having grown up taking European wealth and freedom for granted, it comes as a shock to Rallia (and the 'Western' viewer) when she experiences life in the raw: highway robbery in aid of basic survival, childbirth on a rocky outcrop, a woman being abandoned by her husband on the roadside, male violence towards a girl wearing make-up. And when she finally confronts her mother, she is in for a deeply cathartic lesson in humility.

Yet there are also moments of great empowerment when her European self-confidence allows her to take the bull by the horns, so to say.

I found KELTOUM'S DAUGHTER full of fascinating insight into North African culture, custom and costume while being kept on the edge of my seat by a riveting adventure and moved by a tale of personal discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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