The first full-length feature by Algerian director Sofia Djama, presented in the Orizzonti section at the 74th Venice International Film Festival (August 30th – September 9th), was well received and won three awards.
The Orizzonti jury, chaired by Italian director Gianni Amelio, awarded its Best Actress Award to Lyna Khoudri, who features alongside Sami Bouajila and Nadia Kaci in this Franco-Belgian-Qatari production.
“Les Bienheureux” leaves Venice with two other trophies: the Brian Award, given to the film which best champions human rights, democracy, pluralism and freedom of thought, and the Lina Mangiacapre Award for a film which changes the image of women in the cinema.
In her first feature film, Sofia Djama shows the disillusionment of an Algerian couple and their son Fahim, a few years after the civil war which saw the Algerian national army clash with several Islamist groups. French actress Lyna Khoudri embodies one of Fahim’s friends, wandering with him through the rough districts of Algiers in search of a tattoo artist.
Sofia Djama was one of only two African directors competing at this 2017 Venice Biennale, alongside Franco-Tunisian Abdellatif Kechiche. The director of “La Vie d’Adèle” presented his latest film, “Mektoub is Mektoub”, a Franco-Italian co-production, in the official competition.
Worth noting too, the Official Competition jury, chaired by American actress Annette Bening, presented the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor to Palestinian Kamel El Basha for his role in “The Insult” by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri.
Sources: TV5 Monde, Le Monde Afrique