The film “Teza” of Ethiopian film director Haile Gerima won the Tanit d’or, supreme consecration of the Carthage Cinematographic Days (JCC), whose 22nd session ended Sunday. Eighteen feature films were on show during the biennial event in which Arab and African committed films participated.
As the first Ethiopian film to be consecrated since the launch of the JCC in 1966, Teza was unanimously appreciated during its projection in cinema rooms in Tunis, now the capital of Arabo-African cinema, for the whole week the event lasted.
Described as a “real masterpiece” by the president of the jury, Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra, Gerima also received four other prizes, of the best music, sound quality, image and scenario and that of the best second male role (Abeye Tedla).
After having migrated to the United States in 1968, where he was a member of the school of Black film directors of Los Angeles and professor of cinema at Howard University in Washington, Gerima (62 years), reflects the frictions of contemporary Ethiopia against which he comes up upon his arrival, with his dreams and disillusions, dramas and hopes.
His film, which was awarded a prize in Tunis, obtained the special prize of the jury of the 65th Mostra de Venise in Italy.
The Silver Tanit was attributed to the Palestinian film “Birthday” in which Rashid Masharaoui talks of the misfortunes of a Palestinian family in its daily life, whereas the Tanit of bronze went to “Khamsa” of Karim Dridi (Tunisia).
Born of a Tunisian father and French mother, this young film director deals with juvenile delinquency in some districts of Marseille and retraces the setbacks of a young man (Marco) and his friends looking for a place under the sun in that French city.
In 1990, his film “Zoé la boxeuse” won the Grand prix of the Grenoble festival.
In addition to Algerian Yasmina Khadra, the international jury of the JCC also comprised Tunisian film director Nouri Bouzid, Niger’s film director Rahmatou Keita, Senegalese musician Ismaël Lo, French actress Emmanuelle Béart, Egyptian actor Ezaat Al-Alayli and the Director of the Amsterdam cinema museum, Sandra Den Hammer.
The Carthage cinematographic festival, which was celebrating its 42nd anniversary, meant to remain “faithful to its primary vocation by banking on the militant dimension of the cinema”, according to its director, Dorra Bouchoucha.
It is in this spirit that a posthumous tribute was paid to its pioneers, Egyptian Youssef Chahine, who died last July, Senegalese Ousmane Sembène, Tunisian Ahmed Bahaeddine Attia and Frenchman humbert balsan.
In addition to the 18 feature-films, nine short films, as well as 27 films of about 20 Arab and sub-Saharan African countries were presented to the Carthaginian audience.