New Internationalist

A Female Cabby in Sidi Bel-Abbes

July 2002
347-a-female-cabby [Related Image]

This is a film about going out to work. Soumicha is the only woman taxi driver in Sidi Bel-Abbes, a medium-sized town in Algeria. Widowed with three children, she has inherited a yellow Renault from her husband. This unusual documentary kicks off by recording the spontaneous reactions of her passengers as they step into her taxi. Soumicha is confident and matter-of-fact about her job. But a sense of danger is never far away. Some of her friends in a nearby village are workers in an electronics plant that Islamic fundamentalists have set fire to. The cabby herself is threatened with violent repression and we can see the risks posed by the filmmaking process itself. Yet the women Soumicha interacts with speak openly of their desire to work outside the home. They have all had to battle with male hostility; but going to work is a public – and political – act in which they can support each other. Immediate and inspiring.

Available for purchase or rental on video, with public performance rights.

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 347 This column was published in the July 2002 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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