Vues d’Oran (1961) – Views of Oran, Algeria

The setting of Albert Camus’s novel The Plague is 1940’s Oran, a coastal colonial settlement in French-Algeria.

The video above offers an extensive view into the city where this novel plays out. Although these scenes reflect a time-period over a decade after the intended setting of the book, these images will still enhance our understanding of the make-up of this city and our imagination of the passage of Camus’s characters along these streets. Take note of the congested beaches, the commerce-lined coastlines, and the government buildings and reflect on their mention in the novel.

One element that stands out even in the opening seconds of this video is the intermingling of French settlers with the local Arab population. This distinction is one that seems to be lacking in Camus’s depiction of Oran. We may question his decision to omit mention of these individuals upon whose native land he was encroaching, and to imagine his own relationship with these people.

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