With no dialogue, The Last of Us tracks a Sub-Saharan man through the desert to North Africa where he steals a boat. When it breaks down in the middle of the sea, he begins an imaginary surrealistic odyssey where he meets an older man, who might be an altered version of himself, and, in a wild landscape, rediscovers his relationship with primary nature. “A philosophical fable on being lost” (Giona Nazzaro).
Awarded with the Lion Of the Future in the 73rd Venice Film Festival (2016) Continue reading
Tunis, summer 2010, a few months before the Revolution: Farah, 18 years-old, has just graduated and her family already sees her as a future doctor. But she doesn’t think the same way. She sings in a political rock band. She has a passion for life, gets drunk, discovers love and her city by night against the will of her mother Hayet, who knows Tunisia and its dangers too well. Continue reading
Moncef Kahloucha is a fan of ’70s genre movies, especially those with Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly and Clint Eastwood. Apart from working as a house painter in Kazmet, a poor Tunician locality, Kahloucha is a tenacious director, actor, screenwriter and prop master in his own zero-budget productions. At the limits of communal, visceral cinema captured on a VHS camera, it literally costs Kahloucha blood, sweat and tears to shoot his next film: Tarzan of the Arabs, opening at a bar TV set. With an amplified eye, Néjib Belkhadi not only records a ferocious making-of, but also manages to come out with a crystal-clear map of Kazmet’s social ills, including the Arabs who must survive in their Italian exile to the tune of the anthological “Tunisino” by Neshez. The savage primitiveness of the shooting, the struggle for a place in the ads of the neighbors-actors and Kahloucha’s displays of tinsel used in previous films are some gripping, all but likely moments of an incendiary passion for cinema.
In La Goulette, a small harbour town in the Tunis suburbs, Youssef, the Muslim, Jojo, the Tunisian Jew, and Giuseppe, the Sicilian Catholic, are as inseparable as their three 16-year-old daughters, Meriem, Gigi and Tina. In a fit of provocation the three girls all swear that they’ll lose their virginity on the day of the feast of the Madonna, each with a boy from a religion different to hers ! Once this taboo is brought out into the open, all three families fall out. But the friendship between the three fathers is so strong that it reconciles them, closer than ever before… until the eve of the Israel-Arab Six Day War in 1967 that forces apart Jews and Arabs all over the world. Continue reading
This second feature in Nacer Khemir’s Desert Trilogy is a visually ravishing folktale reminiscent of “The Thousand and One Nights.” The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love. Continue reading
Review: “Halfaouine, Boy of the Terraces” is a charming coming-of-age film from Tunisia that takes a rare look at the inner workings of Arabic culture — the stone- walled streets, alleys, rooftops and households of everyday Tunisia, where traditions seem little interrupted by the modern world.
Bab’Aziz, AKA The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul, is the story of a blind dervish named Bab’Aziz and his spirited granddaughter, Ishtar. Together they wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes that takes place just once every thirty years. With faith as their only guide, the two journey for days through the expansive, barren landscape. To keep Ishtar entertained, Bab’Aziz relays the ancient tale of a prince who relinquished his realm in order to remain next to a small pool in the desert, staring into its depths while contemplating his soul. As the tale of the prince unfolds, the two encounter other travelers with stories of their own, including Osman, who longs for the beautiful woman he met at the bottom of a well, and Zaid, who searches for the ravishing young woman who fled from him after being seduced by his songs. A fairytale-like story of longing and belonging, filmed in the enchanting and ever-shifting sandscapes of Tunisia and Iran. Continue reading