UpdateMounia Meddour is no longer able to attend in person on March 12, but we’re delighted to share that she has recorded an introduction and post-screening conversation exclusively for Rendez-Vous with French Cinema audiences. See more details here.

César Award Winner: Best First Feature Film and Most Promising Actress (Lyna Khoudri)

Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri) is a university student during the Algerian Civil War. Although she’s studying French, her passion is fashion design: defying religious conservatism, she custom-makes dresses for her peers that are examples of individual expression. Attacks on civilians are on the rise from fundamentalist Islamist sects, and a shocking incident drives Nedjma to stage a unique protest: a fashion show centered around repurposing the haik, a traditional veil, into secular garments. Anchored by a remarkable naturalism and camaraderie among its lead actresses (especially from Khoudri and Shirine Boutella), Papicha—a highlight of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section—tells an unflinching story of resistance and resilience, and marks an inspired, sometimes harrowing debut for Mounia Meddour. A DistribFilms release.