143 Sahara Street (143 rue du désert)
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Malika is the ageing proprietor of a small café along the trans-Sahara highway in Algeria. It is a 20-metre-square hut in the middle of nowhere, where she lives with her beloved cat Mimi and serves coffee and eggs to truckers and travellers. Malika listens to stories from her clientele, and her maternal presence seems to encourage open discussions about religion, the economy, politics and family. She listens benevolently, never shy to interject with learned wisdom. Hassen Ferhani’s gripping, poetic documentary is the portrait of a rare life in a rare place, one that reveals much about the wider world we live in. MH