Cinémed Festival: Tunisian thriller Ashkal wins the Golden Antigone


Youssef Chebbi’s film was a hit at the Montpellier event dedicated to Mediterranean cinema, also pocketing the prizes for best music and the critics’ prize.

The most prestigious prize of the 44e edition of the Cinémed Mediterranean Film Festival in Montpellier, the Golden Antigone was awarded on Saturday to Ashkal, a feature film by Tunisian Youssef Chabbi. The film, carried by Fatma Oussaifi and Mohamed Grayaâ, tells the story of a police investigation carried out after immolations in buildings whose construction site remained unfinished after the Jasmine Revolution.

Christophe Leparc, director of this Mediterranean film festival, hailed “the ability of the director to seize the codes of genre films to tell” his company. Earlier in the evening, Ashkal was also awarded the critics’ award, as well as the award for best music.

In the other categories, the evening was marked in particular by the victory of Cuerdasby the Spanish director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, winner of the short film grand prize, or by the distinction by the public prize of The Night of the Glass of Water, Franco-Lebanese film by Carlos Chahine. First award given during the evening, the Canal+ short film prize went to the Italian film Tria – from the feeling of betrayal, by Giulia Grandinetti.

Tunisian domination

In the documentary category, the jury co-chaired by former Manchester United star, turned film and theater actor Éric Cantona, and his wife, actress and director Rachida Brakni, awarded the prize to the Guardian of the Worldsby Leïla Chaïbi, about a cemetery guardian in Tunis. “The comical and atypical character allows this film to develop an almost political view of Tunisian society”, underlined Christophe Leparc.

This 44e edition of the Cinemed festival, chaired by the former mayor of Palermo (Sicily) Leoluca Orlando, received French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche on Friday for a much-awaited masterclass. The filmmaker returned on this occasion to the status of his Arlesian, Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo which caused a scandal in 2019, when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

“They are filmed, they are editing, reassembling. I’ve been spending my time there for all these years. I did practically only that: going up, going up, trying… I hope soon the end of Mektoub», he had announced, before being interrupted by the intervention of feminist demonstrators.

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