Le Songe d'un habitant de Djelfa

// Le Songe d'un habitant de Djelfa

David Yon // France // En production
// Couleur // HD


With the support of Images en mouvement (CNAP), the Doha Film Institute, the CNC and Région PACA

The first film by David Yon, Les Oiseaux d'Arabie, was based on the correspondence between the philosopher Simone Weil and the Spanish anarchist Antonio Atarès, interned at Djelfa in Algeria during the 1940s. The words of the correspondents, spoken by Lou Castel, were embodied in the spaces of today's Algerian city. What had been erased gradually becomes visible. Le Songe d’un habitant de D. returns to the themes of the first film, concerning three young Algerians searching for the history of a distant Spanish ancestor. The project weaves together several layers of the history of a place, addressing them not in a didactic way but through material and poetic material. Intimate stories and national history are intertwined.

"Through the darkness of a extended night, three young Algerians explore the territory the signs, haunted by the story of their Spanish female ancestor. [...]

Following Les Oiseaux d’Arabie, I am working on another film that will also be filmed in D. These two films will form a diptych. The desire to go back there, and do something together. Something to share. Something like cinema, that is to say something with sounds and images for material. In a café in Madrague, in the suburbs of Alger, I was talking politics with someone named Malik. He told me that today the real problem in our society is the question: "what do you dream of?". And yes, in the time of the society of the spectacle and of the myth of individual success, what do I dream of? I dream of the dust on the pavements of D., I dream of Ilyes' smile, I dream of liberty and I dream of the heart.

The strong desire of a film projected in a cinema. A film that is sensitive and collective. A quest for light, for a figuring of the human. Grains of light in the darkness. Pulsations of the gaze. A shared geometry of the world. Incarnation." David Yon
Read more: David Yon's filming diary

In coproduction with Haut Les Mains Productions and Vosges TV



In this film, the correspondence between the philosopher Simone Weil and the Spanish anarchist Antonio Atares, interned in Djelfa in the 1940s, is embodied in the spaces of today's Algerian city. What had been erased gradually becomes visible by way of a filmic evocation. The beauty of the film has confirmed our intention to accompany David Yon in his wish to make a sequel to his first work.

Les Oiseaux d’Arabie and Le Songe d’un habitant de Djelfa will ultimately form a diptych around a buried and intimate past in the Algerian city of Djelfa.

Le Songe d’un habitant de Djelfa thus is inscribed into the continuation of the previous film by David Yon, but also marks a sidestep, containing its share of fiction. The film begins with three brothers from Djelfa: Salah, Idriss and Ilyes Lahrech. The past resurfaces by way of the quest (devised by the three brothers and the director) for the history of their distant ancestor, Madalena Aoles, the Spanish wife of the Khalifa of the Ouled Nail in the nineteenth century. The confused story of Aoles Madalena will be the fictional seedbed of the film and its narrative driving force. The everyday life of the brothers and their way of inhabiting their city will blend with the story - sometimes fantasy and sometimes documentary - of this ancestor. The film will thus be a tribute both to the poetry of the acts of our "three residents of Djelfa" and to the life of Madalena Aoles.


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Our new film Neighbouring Sounds will be screened on February 3rd at Cinéma du Garde Chasse, Lilas and at Cinéma La Clef on February 11 with Autres Brésils and at Etoile Lilas on February 18.

Our film Kelly has won the Youth Prize at Cinema du Reel !


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