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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 225 users  
Reviews: 7 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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Title: Daughter of Keltoum (2001)

Daughter of Keltoum (2001) on IMDb 7.2/10

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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

Wrenching study of national and gender oppression of Berber peoples
12 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As part of First Run Features Global Film Initiative, "Daughter of Keltoum" is a worthy if far from perfect entry by Algerian film-maker Mehdi Charef, who has lived in France since the age of 10. It is an exploration of the class and gender oppression facing the Kabyle peoples, the Algerian branch of the Berber nationality that lives primarily in the mountainous region of the north.

It is focused on the relationship between Rallia (Cylia Malki), a 19 year old Kabyle who was adopted by Swiss parents as an infant, and her aunt Nedjma (Baya Belal). Rallia has returned to the village where she was born in search of her mother, who is now working as a hotel maid in a distant city. She is also in search of answers to the question of why her mother gave her up.

If Rallia does not understand why, the viewer certainly will. This is a land of grinding poverty, where women are treated as beast of burden. Nejma is in awe of Switzerland where water is readily available from a tap. In her village, she fills up plastic tanks from a remote well and trudges back several times a day. Nejma, who appears to have been driven half-mad by poverty, has very few pleasures in life other than a occasional visit from Rallia's mother, who brings candy and trinkets for the family. In a nearby abandoned religious shrine, Nejma has constructed her own altar out of empty cigarette packs and other colorful but worthless items found on the road beneath the village.


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