- Artist Zineb Sedira
- Title Saphir
- Date 2006
- Medium Video installation
- Duration 18 minutes
Saphir (French for sapphire) evokes not only the pure maritime light typical of Algiers, but also those glimmers on the horizon that symbolise dreams and aspirations. In Arabic, the word safir means 'ambassador', a traveller of one country on the soil of another.
This play on meaning is extended through two central characters in the film. The first is an Algerian man who walks with no apparent purpose, and silently watches the ferries arriving and departing to France. The second is an older woman, a daughter of the pieds noirs (the European settlers who left Algeria after its Independence). She inhabits the Safir Hotel, one of the grand landmarks of French colonial Algiers, and resonant architecture from a past that still casts its light and shadow over the city.
Confronting the contemporary life of the city with an older and ambivalent legacy, Saphir presents a portrait of Algiers in a transitional moment, gradually becoming absorbed into the current of globalisation.