Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Director Yamina Benguigui has created an incisive documentary on the plight of immigrants in France from Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco (specifically, the coastal region and the Atlas mountains of Maghreb). When these immigrant families hit the news it is usually because they are occupying abandoned houses, or involved in some kind of violence, and their situation is not explored further. Benguigui divides her documentary into three sections of interviewees: the fathers, the mothers, and the children. By intercutting their personal histories in their own words with the edicts sent down by government officials in charge of immigration, Benguigui sheds a human light on the often unintentionally inhuman edicts. For example, a French law promulgated in 1974 required employed immigrant fathers to bring their families over to live with them, yet these same fathers were usually planning to go back to their homeland as soon as they could. By having to support their families in France, they suffer economic and other hardships that could have been avoided. In the end, Benguigui combines a mini-history of modern France with the narratives and experiences of these Maghrebian immigrants.