What the Day Owes the Night (film)

What the Day Owes the Night
Directed by Alexandre Arcady
Starring Fu'ad Aït Aattou
Nora Arnezeder
Music by Armand Amar
Cinematography Gilles Henry
Release dates
  • 12 September 2012 (2012-09-12)
Running time
162 minutes
Country France
Language French

What the Day Owes the Night (French: Ce que le jour doit à la nuit) is a 2012 French drama film based on the novel of the same name by Yasmina Khadra.[1]


The movie looks over the life of a young man, Younes, from his childhood in Algeria in the 1930s to nowadays. The story goes over the tragedies that occurred in his country like the battle of Mers El-Kebir and the Algerian War but also the love story of Emilie and Younes.

Younes's family owns a wheat field in the countryside next to Oran, expecting an abundant harvest. Unfortunately, the field is set on fire by the Cheikh henchmen, to who the family owes money. Unable to pay the debt, the family is expropriated by the colonial administration to the benefit of the Cheikh whose first goal was to get the family's land.

Now ruined and without any money, they move to the nearest city, Oran, where Issa, Younes's father, works difficult jobs for a pittance. Physically and psychologically worn, Issa is resigned to give his son away to Mohamed, his elder pharmacist brother, to whom he didn't speak for a long time because Mohamed married a pied-noir piano teacher named Madeleine.

Renamed Jonas by Madeleine, Younes is warmfully hosted in his new and only family after the death of his sister and mother during the battle of Mers El-Kebir, and the disappearance of his father, sunk into alcolohism. Madeleine couldn't have children with Mohamed so she considers Younes as her own child, educates him and lets him attend piano lessons. That's how he meets Emilie, a young girl from France whose parents came to live in Algeria and begins a friendship with her.

Spotted because of his political positions, Mohamed is harassed by the French police. To escape from it, Mohamed decides to leave Oran with his family. They settle in a little town called Rio Salado inhabited by a large population of pieds-noirs from Spanish backgrounds for the majority. The family builds a new life and Jonas meets new friends, three children of this community, Jean-Christophe, Fabrice and Simon. Many years passed and nothing changed in Rio Salado until the arrival of Emilie.



  1. "What the Day Owes the Night". UK Jewish Film. Retrieved 28 October 2014.

External links

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