The Kid from Chaaba / Le gone du Chaâba
Year of release: 1998
Directed by: Christophe Ruggia
Based on the eponymous autobiographical novel by Azouz Begag, this coming-of-age story tells the story of nine-year-old Omar, the son of an Algerian immigrant family, who grows up in a bidonville, a shanty-town on the outskirts of Lyon.
Unlike his friends and cousins in the shanty-town, Omar loves reading and his father, an illiterate worker, encourages him to work hard and be the best pupil in class. His success in school does not make him particularly popular with the other kids. He becomes the chronicler of life in the shanty-town, recording his family's daily routine, his friendships and his loneliness, as well as significant events, such as the festivities marking his and his cousin Hacène's circumcision. Gradually, the immigrant families are leaving the primitive shanty-town with the muddy alleyways, moving on to better housing. Omar's family is the last one to leave. The film ends with Omar's decision to become a writer.