Tunisian film tops Cannes

Tunis-born director Abdellatif Kechiche topped the 2013 Cannes festival “Palme d’Or” for his controversial film “La Vie d’Adele”.

After receiving the award from US filmmaker Steven Spielberg at the French festival’s closing ceremony on Sunday (May 26th), Kechiche dedicated his win to youths of the Tunisian revolution, who “have the aspiration to be free, to express themselves and love in full freedom”.

“Young people in France are often way ahead of my generation in their thinking, and they are open to the world. Tunisian youth are the same: that is why there was a revolution. The older people didn’t listen,” he told the press.

According to critics, Kechiche was the surprise this year in Cannes. He had previous submissions to the Cannes Festival, which included “L’Esquive” in 2004, “Couscous with Fish” in 2007, and “Black Venus” in 2010. These films did not achieve the same success as “La Vie d’Adele”.

He won Cannes with a love story between two girls at a secondary school in Paris.

News of his win sparked a range of reactions in his native country.

“While others are very happy and enthusiastic to see the first ‘Tunisian’ ever to win that honour, others are saying the controversial topic is nothing to be happy or proud about,” film critic Saleh Souissi told Magharebia.

French news website Kapitalis wondered whether Culture Minister Mehdi Mabrouk would allow the film to be projected in Tunisia, which is “under Islamist control today”.

“Suffice to say that this film might be something other than an ‘earth-shattering film’ if it were to be shown in one of our disappearing theatres. Especially in a context where even the so-called Tunisian modernists are (still) alarmed over Amina’s chest [Femen],” commented Mag14.

The culture ministry’s top cinema official, Fathi Kharrat was reportedly pleased with the film’s success, but noted that the movie would provoke “violent reactions” if it were to be projected in Tunisia, according to Webdo.tn.

The film may not be screened in Tunisia because of its many audacious scenes, Kechiche admitted.

“I will do my utmost to make sure it’s seen there”, The Guardian quoted the director as saying. “But there are other countries too, like Italy, that have a problem with censorship.”

“I hope this film will help,” Kechiche added.

by Yasmine Najjar in Tunis for Magharebia
Source – Magharebia