Accompanied by the memory of his late mother and his camera, director Karim Aïnouz embarks on an intimate journey to his father's homeland of Algeria for the first time. A film diary exploring themes of family, love and revolution, both personal and political.

January 2019. Filmmaker Karim Aïnouz decides to take a boat, cross the Mediterranean and embark on his first journey to Algeria.

Accompanied by the memory of his mother, Iracema, and his camera, Aïnouz gives us a detailed account of the journey to his father's homeland; from the sea crossing to his arrival in the Atlas Mountains in Kabylia - a mountainous region in northern Algeria - to his return. The film interweaves present, past and future.

Janvier 2019. Le cinéaste Karim Aïnouz décide de traverser la Méditerranée en bateau et d'entreprendre son tout premier voyage en Algérie. Accompagné de sa caméra et du souvenir de sa mère Iracema, Karim Aïnouz nous livre ici un récit détaillé du voyage vers la terre natale de son père ; de la traversée de la mer à son arrivée dans les montagnes de l'Atlas en Kabylie jusqu'à son retour, entremêlant présent, passé et futur.

Karim Aïnouz is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter and visual artist. He debuted as director with MADAME SATÃ (Cannes Un Certain, Regard 2002). His other works include NARDJES A. (Berlin Panorama, 2020), CENTRAL AIRPORT THF (Berlin Amnesty Prize, 2018), FUTURO BEACH (Berlin Competition, 2014), SILVER CLIFF (Cannes Directors Fortnight, 2011),  I TRAVEL BECAUSE I HAVE TO, I COME BACK BECAUSE I LOVE YOU (Venice, Orizontti, 2009) and LOVE FOR SALE (Venice, Orizontti, 2006). INVISIBLE LIFE, Aïnouz's latest feature film, won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and has been the recipient of several prizes worldwide. Aïnouz is a screenwriter tutor and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.


2020: Nardjes A. / Nardjes A.

2019: Invisible Life / A vida Invisível de Euridice Gusmão

2018: Central Airport THF / Zentralflughafen THF

2014: Futuro Beach / Praia do Futuro

2011: Silver Cliff / Abismo Prateado

2009: I Travel because I have to, I come back because I love you / Viajo porque preciso, volto porque te amo

2006: Love for Sale / O Céu de Suely

2002: Madam Satã / Madame Satã

For over 50 years I have lived in-between, in the interstice, experiencing the constant indeterminacy of belonging and not belonging. Being Brazilian by provenance and matrilineage, being Algerian by name and happenstance I have always lived somehow in the interval of culture, neither here nor there, but in some sense everywhere.

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Mariner of the Mountains is an epistolary travel-diary to a country where my father was born, yet I had never seen. It is also a love letter to my mother, who raised me on her own, abandoned by the man she had fallen in love with before my birth, never herself making the journey we talked about so many times. Though she is gone, I made this journey, and this film, for her as much as for myself and for you.

The form of the film is essayistic and intuitive, creating a space for the audience’s own thoughts and observations. It takes advantage of the spontaneity and unpredictability that documentary affords, following no clear route, with no map or plan, allowing the same fate that pulled my camera towards it, this way and that.

At the same time, this film bridges multiple cultures, all of which are part of me and in some significant sense also alien to me. It reaches outwards while simultaneously looking inwards, making connections that have long existed even if they’ve also long been obscured.  At this moment in history, when borders are being violently shut and allegiances forgotten, I hope this film allows us to make connections and realise that by design or by chance, we are all inevitably connected.

My motivation is a personal and a poetic inquest that begins from a love story and elevates to the intertwined destinies of two societies -- Algerian and Brazilian -- that once held utopian promises of sovereignty, progress, affluence, eventually both betraying those dearly held promises in the short space of decades—literally in the span of my life.

Brazil and Algeria don’t have parallel destinies, but their recent histories leading up to the present moment share resonant motifs. These two countries were and still are, in very similar ways, laboratories of love, revolution and failure. Algiers was once known as the Mecca of Revolution, and Algeria was a beacon of hope in the anti-colonial struggles, while Brazilian anti-colonial efforts are legendary and the more recent events of a right-wing takeover after such a hopeful period resonate profoundly not just in Algeria, with its own disastrous disappointments, but all over the world.

I believe that this intimate journal can help us to dream again - both here and there, or anywhere - of a future: of rage, joy, freedom and social justice. Even more so in the current context, with the growing threat to tomorrow perpetrated by the spread of extreme right-wing movements on the world political scene, we need films that follow a different, less predictable, path, that show us an alternative to the dire circumstances of today.

For Mariner of the Mountains I wanted to take risks that maturity and experience allow me - first and foremost, an artistic risk by distancing myself from what I know, opening the project to the unexpected, allowing chance, which is after all my birth-right, to lead me to discover things I couldn’t have known at the beginning of my journey. This film asks us to reach out, to believe in the unexpected, to remember to have hope and faith in our fellow planet-dwellers. No matter how far or how different we think we may be, we are all, in fact, intimately related.


International title: Mariner of the Mountains

Duration: 98 min

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Format: 2K

Sound. 5.1

Year: 2021

Original language: Portuguese, Arabic, Tamazight, French

Countries of production: Brazil, France, Germany

Production Companies: VideoFilmes, MPM Film, Big Sister

With the support of: ANCINE, ARTE FRANCE - LA LUCARNE, CNC, PROCIREP ANGOA , SANAD, Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Literary Colloquium as part of the Grenzgänger funding programme,  Fundação Paradiso

Script: Murilo Hauser, Karim Aïnouz

Director of Photography: Juan Sarmiento

Camera: Karim Aïnouz, Juan Sarmiento

Editing: Ricardo Saraiva

Additonal editing: Alice Dalgalarrondo

Sound design: Bjorn Wiese, Benedikt Schiefer

Original score: Benedikt Schiefer

Mixing: Laure Arto

Director’s Assistant: Viviane Letayf

Voice over: Murilo Hause, Viviane Letayf, Karim Aïnouz

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