“Ashkal”, a Tunisian feature film brilliantly mixing detective story and fiction

First feature film by young Tunisian director Youssef Chebbi, the film “Ashkal”, screened on Saturday as part of the official competition of the 19th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, is a cinematographic work that brilliantly mixes detective story and fiction. .

Second film to be screened among the 14 feature films in the running this year to win the prestigious “Golden Star”, “Ashkal”, which benefited from the support of the Ateliers de l’Atlas, the festival’s industry platform, dedicated to supporting a new generation of filmmakers from Africa and the Middle East, is indeed a work of breathtaking suspense, which combines both ingredients of the police investigation and elements of fiction.

Lasting 92 minutes, the film shines the spotlight on two police officers, Fatma, played by actress Fatma Oussaifi, and Batal (Mohammed Houcine Grayaa), who discover a charred body in an unfinished construction site in one of the buildings of the “Gardens of Carthage”, district of Tunis, created by the old regime, but whose construction was brutally stopped at the beginning of the revolution.

As construction sites gradually resume, Fatma and Batal begin to look into this mysterious case. But this incident does not seem isolated since a similar case occurred before they could elucidate this matter.

The investigation thus takes a disconcerting turn and the hunt for the culprit is launched, even if the latter always seems to be one step ahead of the two police officers.

Before the screening of his film, Youssef Chebbi, who was accompanied by actors Fatma Oussaifi and Rami Harrabi, as well as producer Farès Ladjimi, expressed his immense joy at being present in Marrakech to take part in this major cinematographic event not to be missed and to see his film appear among the feature films in the official competition of this 19th edition.

He also recalled having taken part in the Ateliers de l’Atlas in 2019 and benefited from the supervision and support of this platform, which is in its 5th edition this year, stressing that his feature film explores, among other things, questions of political and social order as well as subjects of the imagination.

For her part, Ms. Oussaifi noted that the work of this young filmmaker offers an opportunity for film-lovers to discover contemporary Tunisia from a different angle, with both a lot of imagination and creativity.

Born in Tunisia in 1984, Youssef Chebbi has directed two short films, “Towards the North” in 2010 and “Les Depths” in 2012, which have been selected in various international festivals.

In 2012, he co-directed the documentary “Babylon” which won the FIDMarseille Jury Prize and which was presented at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.


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