Racism and nationalism permeate Maghrebi cinema. There is a refusal to look south, to work with our black African colleagues; there is a refusal to treat our African identity in our films; there is a refusal to address our black slave-owning past; there is even a refusal to incorporate our Amazigh-African identity which surrounds us in every way.
Instead we look north, to Europe. We make films with our colonizers. We seek to please them, to get into their film festivals. Even while fighting colonialism in our cinema, we continue to be a victim of it. We embrace "national cinemas," defined by borders which were imposed on us by the European occupiers who exploited us.
We have been used by despotic regimes to help them create artificial “national identities” instead of exploring the plurality of ethnic or regional identities that make up North Africa. We have sacrificed the diverse beauty of humanity at the altar of nationalist authoritarianism.
Our films seem to refuse to cross borders they, like many characters in our films, only want to cross the Mediterranean.