Vol.9, No.1 | [Article] Voyage to a Relative North: The Crossing of Intangible Barriers in Merzak Allouache’s Harragas



In this article I study Merzak Allouache’s Harragas (2009), a film devoted
to the current crisis of migration from the South to the North of the
Mediterranean. By focusing on the intangible barriers that the characters
in this film have to cross in their trip from Algeria to Spain, I illustrate
how the director employs a report-like realism to provide a lucid and
even openly critical portrait of post-civil war Algeria. I analyze the
director’s references to the laws regulating migration approved by the
Algerian parliament in 2008 and 2009, comparing them with the
European legal frameworks regulating the movement of people across
its borders, in order to reconstruct the terms of what I call the coalition,
among Mediterranean countries, against the contemporary “wretched of
the earth”.