I Still Hide to Smoke, 
by Rayhana Obermeyer
At the Barbican Center

This project is a collaboration with Maria Paradinas. 

© KG Productions

Set in a hammam in Algiers, Rayhana Obermeyer’s warm and charming debut feature paints an immersive portrait of intimate confession and
fierce sisterhood during the Civil War.

Headstrong lead masseuse Fatima (Hiam Abbass) hides a terrified pregnant girl to protect her from her violent, fundamentalist brother and his companions.
With the threat of this group steadily encroaching, Fatima struggles to balance doing her job, keeping the peace and providing safety.

In this raw, tender but playful film, Obermeyer breaks the silence by centring women’s experiences in Algiers during the Civil War (1991–2002) which saw the Algerian society being fractured by constant fights between various Islamist fundamentalists groups and the government. Spanning all classes and generations, the hammam becomes a site where societal rules can be inverted.

Recorded intro by Rayhana Obermeyer followed by a panel discussion including Roisin Tapponi (Habibi Collective) and Dr. Anissa Daoudi.
Curated by and Emma Bouraba and Maria Paradinas.

The conversation explored North African feminist spaces,
and consider the hammam as a site of resistance.

The screening and discussion engaged with ideas of exile, diaspora
and censorship. It will also touch on ideas of being contained within
a society but being excluded from it, and the idea of being exiled
from the body: in the lm, women inhabit their bodies but are also
simultaneously dispossessed of them. We would like to expand
the idea of “Inside Out” as a state of being.

Taos Amrouche - Aubade sacrée pour les noces (1971)

‘Algerian Resistance’ is a polyphonic call for emancipation written by Emma Bouraba and edited by Maria Paradinas. It is a musical journey crossing Algeria and spanning from the 1970s to the present day: a period of time marked by political unrest, oppressive governments and the trauma of the Civil War. This playlist is a sonic journey tracing the artists that called for the end to oppression and whose music captured the struggle for equality, and an ode to musicians from the region that inspired hope and offered healing to many people in the Algerian population.

This playlist complements I Still Hide To Smoke, Rayhana Obermeyer’s debut feature film, which showcases the female social ecologies of solidarity and resistance that thrive in a hammam in Algiers during the Black Decade.

Click here to find the link to the article on the Barbican’s Website.