France surrenders to beauty of Algerian landscape

France surrenders to beauty of Algerian landscape
2 min read
18 June, 2015
L'Algerie vue du ciel, shot from an army helicopter by filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, earns rave reviews after broadcast on French television.
Algeria's natural beauty has often been overlooked (Getty)

Algeria may not have the tourist tradition of its Maghreb neighbours, but it may have to prepare itself, after a one and a half-hour documentary was broadcast on French television

L'Algerie vue du ciel (Algeria from the air) was broadcast on French television this week to rave reviews. Made by the veteran French photographer and filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who specialises in aerial work, Algeria from the air was filmed from Algerian army helicopters, and covers the length and breadth of the vast country, which is four times the size of its former colonial master.

Thanks to a deadly civil war in the 1990s and a lack of investment in the tourism industry, Algeria's natural and urban beauty has often been ignored by the outside world.

The primetime airing on France 2 on Tuesday may have changed that.

L'Algerie vue du ciel takes the viewer on an aerial tour of the country, from the big cities of the coast, Algiers and Oran, and the Mediterranean landscape that surrounds them, to the lush rural centre, and then the southern desert, and its Saharan towns and traditions.

The narrator, the actor Jalil Lespert, plays the role of an Algerian in France addressing a compatriot who remained in Algeria, and explaining to him how the country has changed.

Arthus-Bertrand, who has made other aerial documentaries such as Earth from Above and Home, described Algeria's landscape as “sublime”.

"I was blown away by the beauty of Algeria," said Arthus-Bertrand.

"Tamanrasset and Assekrem, where I went this time, are among the most beautiful places in the world," he said, describing areas in Algeria's Touraeg south.

"I've dreamed of making this documentary for a decade," he added.