Omar is nine years old. He lives in the "chaâba" of his father, a small shanty town somewhere deep in the 1960s. The chaâba is made up of twenty-one immigrant families from El Ourica, a village in Algeria, who have fled to France to escape from poverty and war. The youngest of their children, born in this wooden planks and corrugated iron, will grow up to become the first wave of second-generation Algerians in France. Among the various life stories that each form part of the convoluted tale of this immigration, this film follows the path of Omar, caught between this little corner of Algeria and france.
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Omar’s solitude…The absolute need to learn, a little bit more every day… Exclusion, as much endured as called for… The refuge found in books and then the escape into writing… All these feelings which run around in his mind once ran around in mine. What interested me above all in this loosely adapted story is the journey of initiation through books which enables Omar to view life and the people around him from a different slant — a journey which leads him to the day when he finds himself alone, face to face with himself, and the impossibility of communicating becomes so unbearable that he is left with no choice but to write.