Synopsis by Mark Deming
A women living in a city that is slowly being transformed by Muslim activists takes a small stand for the glories of decadence in this comedy drama. Mrs. Sandjak (Biyouna) is a flamboyant and headstrong woman living in Algiers who, in her younger days, earned a living as an exotic dancer known as "Papicha." As Muslim fundamentalists begin taking a greater measure of control over the city, the decidedly non-fundamentalist Papicha finds herself living in a run-down hotel with her daughter, Goucem (Lubna Azabal). Goucem is an attractive twentysomething who works in a photo shop, and has been having an affair with a doctor (Lounes Tazairt), though to her chagrin he seems little inclined to leave his wife for her. Mrs. Sandjak has found a kindred spirit in her next-door neighbor Fifi (Nadia Kaci), a cheerful prostitute who sees no shame in her profession, and the former dancer makes friends with Tiziri (Lynda Harchaoui), a young girl who likes Papicha's brash style and wants to learn how to dance. One day, Mrs. Sandjak receives word that a celebrated nightclub where she once performed is being turned into a mosque; saddened and enraged that the city she knew is changing, she decides to find a venue that will still allow her to dance as she sets out to resume her career.
exotic-dancer, activism, decadence, Muslim, daughter, doctor, neighbor, nightclub, prostitute/prostitution, mosque