Narimane Mari

Sep 22–30, 2023


Le Fort des Fous. 2017. France/Algeria/Greece/Germany/Qatar. Directed by Narimane Mari. Courtesy the filmmaker
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

In the decade since her debut feature, Bloody Beans (2013), the Algerian filmmaker Narimane Mari—whose directorial oeuvre builds on a career in film production, art, publishing, and even early digital networks—has emerged as one of the most fearless minds in contemporary cinema. While she is best known for films exploring the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa, more recent projects that look at artistic lineages anew or confront the ultimate mysteries of death demonstrate Mari’s extraordinary capacity for reshaping narrative through sensory modes of perception and the power of memory.

Spirited hybrids of reenactment, improvisation, performance, and interview permeate her work, which draws on documentary and experimental traditions while consistently defying genre altogether. Populated with non-actors, Mari’s films often have the feeling of a fable or fugue (propelled by booming soundscapes created by a host of regular collaborators). Among her protagonists are colonial officers speaking in tongues; children cast in a boisterous restaging of the Algerian War of Independence; a man wordlessly digging his own grave; and Mari’s late partner, the painter Michel Haas.

This first North American survey of Mari’s work is a journey through an intimate, delirious, playful, and disorienting cinema. Taken as a whole, her work reveals the astonishing freedom of a director eager to dismantle the status quo—both on screen and off. In so doing, Mari reveals herself as a great stylist, creating exhilarating stories with a great economy of means, while inexorably moving toward a cinema of resistance through the depths of imagination. Quoting Antonin Artaud in Bloody Beans, Mari affirms, “It is better to not obey. It’s one way to be free.”

Narimane Mari includes the US premiere of Mari’s two most recent films, as well as films by other directors that she has selected. Mari will present select screenings during the retrospective.

Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Associate Curator, Department of Film.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].