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Bent Keltoum

Bent Keltoum

A Feature film by Mehdi Charef

Produced by Cinétévé

Release in France : 10/04/2002


    Rallia, 19, gets out of a rickety red and yellow bus in the middle of a mountain desert.
    Her smooth, fine features, long neck, dark eyes and very short hair are rarely seen in these parts. Women here don’t cut their hair, what’s more, they keep it hidden beneath scarves. But this girl is from somewhere else, beyond the big city, from a foreign land. Isn’t she from a country where “children eat three meals a day?” a young hunchbacked mountain woman wonders. Rallia’s life didn’t begin in this mountain, although she has returned to it.
    She wants to find her family, her father and mother. The first relative she meets is her grandfather who lives in a ramshackle stone and thatch house in the middle of the plateau under the blistering sun. A bony, wiry old fellow, he subsists by selling asparagus that he gathers from beneath thorn bushes.
    She introduces herself to the silent man: “I’m Keltoum’s daughter.” Overcome with emotion, he looks at her and says, “I’m Keltoum’s father.” Grandfather and granddaughter meet and hug each other. He avoids answering her questions but Rallia insists on knowing her mother’s whereabouts. He averts his eyes and tells her that she works in the big city and returns to the plateau by bus every Friday. He says nothing more and Rallia doesn’t press the point. She waits for Friday to come.
    Rallia waits for Friday in the house in the desert “where even the reptiles have fled its harshness” with her grandfather and his other daughter, a tiny, crazy, wild-haired woman in her forties called Nedjma. She dresses in rags, walks barefoot for miles every day along the mountain trails followed by a donkey laden down with jerry cans of water that she delivers to the old people living in shacks scattered around the plateau. She is the only young person still left in the desert. Misery and poverty have driven everyone else to villages and cities. Old people linger, in couples or alone. They no longer have the strength to lift or carry anything heavy and patiently wait for Nedjma to pass by each day, give them a hand and bring them their ration of water that she collects from a spring.
    Rallia also hoists the heavy jerry cans on her frail shoulders. While waiting for Friday to come, she lives like Nedjma, with Nedjma. The city kid becomes the girl of the desert. And what if Keltoum doesn’t come? What if the grandfather was lying? What if Keltoum has abandoned her father and sister, fleeing poverty, the mountain, the way she has abandoned her daughter Rallia?

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    Actors (8)

    Production and distribution (5)

    Executive Producer :


    Foreign production companies :

    To Do Today, RTBF - Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française

    French distribution :


    Box Office: Total results

    Box office: Timeline

    International releases (3)

    CountryDistributorBuyerRelease dateTitre local

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    TV Broadcasts: Cumulative total

    TV broadcasts: details by country

    Photos (3)

    Full credits (19)

    Executive Producer :

    Fabienne Servan-Schreiber

    Foreign producer :

    Arlette Zylberberg

    Line Producer :

    Jean-Pierre Fayer

    Director of Photography :

    Alain Levent

    Assistant Operator :

    Frédéric Beaugendre

    Editor :

    Kenout Peltier

    Continuity supervisor :

    Virginie Barbay

    Music Composer :

    Bernardo Sandoval

    Costume designer :

    Maïka Guezel

    Still Photographer :

    Marc Detiffe

    Assistant director :

    Véronique Labrid

    Sound recordists :

    Ricardo Castro, Henri Morelle

    Screenwriter :

    Mehdi Charef

    Sound assistants :

    Hélène Lamy-au-Rousseau, Seppe Van Groeningen

    Press Attaché (film) :

    Florence Bory

    Assistant editor :

    Sarah Anderson

    Production Designer :

    Taoufik Behi

    Casting :

    Patrick Hella

    Sound Mixer :

    Thierry Lebon

    Technical details

    Feature film

    Genres :


    Sub-genre :


    Coproducer countries :

    Belgium, France

    Original French-language productions :


    Nationality :

    Majority French (Belgium, France)

    Production year :


    French release :


    Runtime :

    1 h 46 min

    Current status :


    Visa number :


    Visa issue date :


    Approval :


    Production formats :


    Color type :


    Aspect ratio :


    Audio format :

    Dolby SR