A Female Cabby in Sidi Bel-Abbès

A Female Cabby in Sidi Bel-Abbès

When her husband died Soumicha, mother of three, had to earn a living. She became the only woman taxi driver in Sidi Bel-Abbès, Algeria. This film accompanies Soumicha around a city where religious and political violence rages, and records her experiences in a job normally reserved for men.

Soumicha's interactions with her fares introduce us to contradictory aspects of Algerian society: men who frown on working women are happy to have a cabby with whom they can trust their wives and daughters; other men are supportive, and critical of Algeria's treatment of women, despite the constant threat of the violent Islamic movement.

In the course of her travels Soumicha meets many women, who offer her encouragement (tempered with warnings to be careful), and wave hello when she drives by. Some of the women she meets are actively struggling for more liberties in the face of the militant Islamic movement.

As A FEMALE CABBY IN SIDI BEL-ABBÈS comes to a close a rumor that Soumicha has been murdered by extremists spreads through her city. Men who were critical of her are now openly worried and gather for the latest news, until someone spots her yellow Renault 4. The rumor was a warning for Soumicha, and all Algerian women. But she will be out the next morning, still looking for fares, and showing that Algerian women continue to stand up for themselves in the face of violence.

"A valuable glimpse into a class of people and some very courageous individuals - seldom seen in public. As Soumicha drives her passengers around, we witness the support of women and the ambivalence of men about her very public work.… The picture for working women darkens, however, when we travel to nearby towns with Soumicha and some of her friends. These visits help to establish the context within which Soumicha is working, making her actions all the more courageous."—Al Jadid, A Review & Record of Arab Culture and Arts

"Through [Soumicha's] experiences… [the audience] discovers the living conditions of women in a country where Islamic law wreaks havoc on them."—L'Officiel (France)

"Between tears and songs, 52 minutes of emotional force."—Le Ligueur (France)


Main credits

Hadjadj, Belkacem (film director)
Pireaux, Christine (film producer)
Diguer, Rachid (film producer)
Benferhat, Djamila (screenwriter)

Other credits

Image, Ahmed Messuad; montage, Karima Saidi; musique, Anouar Brahem, Bellemou Massaoud.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Human Rights
Middle East
Women's Studies


Sidi Bel-Abbes; Belkacem Hadjadj; woman; womens; rights; cab; taxi; driver; Islamicists; violence; documentary; film; video; "A Female Cabby in Sidi Bel-Abbè s"; Icarus Films; "A Female Cabby in Sidi Bel-Abbès"; Icarus Films