Past, Present, And Future: Diving Into The Tunisian Film Industry

All of us are super intrigued about films. They entertain us, teach us, and inspire us. Each country has its own type of cinema and cultural expression, and each one shares a different history. In this case, Tunisian cinema first started in 1896 when the Lumière brothers began showing animated films in the streets of Tunisia. In 1927, the first Tunisian film distribution company, Tunis-Film, started its activities. After their independence, movies were exclusively produced by Société Anonyme Tunisienne de Production et d’Expansion Cinématographique (SATPEC), which controlled cinema and filming productions in the country back then. Now, talking of academy award nominations, since 1995, Tunisia has submitted films for the ‘Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film’ on an irregular basis. The award is handed out annually by the United States ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ for a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States, and that contains primarily non-English dialogue. As of 2021, seven Tunisian films have been submitted for the ‘Academy Award for Best International Feature Film’ and surprise surprise, “The Man Who Sold His Skin” was nominated for the ‘Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.’ This movie serves as the first Tunisian film to be nominated for an Oscar!

The prestigious Oscars are one of those events we all eagerly wait for, but what is it exactly? The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit within the film industry. They are regarded as the most famous and reputable awards in the entertainment industry. The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,’ will honor the best films released between January 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. Considering one of the best Tunisian films will be nominated for the Oscars, it’s truly an honor and a celebration for African pride, wouldn’t you say?

Check out the trailer!

Kaouther Ben Hania, the director of the first-ever Tunisian film to be nominated for an Oscar, has been referred to as a historical and pivotal artist for this nomination. Her film, ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin,’ was put forward for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ ahead of the April 25th Oscars ceremony in Hollywood. “The Man Who Sold His Skin” is a movie that carries with it an immensely meaningful, and symbolic message. In case you don’t know what it’s about, the movie revolves around a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who allows his back to becoming a canvas for a famous tattoo artist. Soon, collectors become highly interested in this work of art.

The film stars Italian actress Monica Bellucci, alongside Syrian Yahya Mahyani, and Belgian Koen De Bouw. The story is a reflection on the value of an immigrant life, explored by way of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Syria, within the idiosyncrasies of the international art market.

The film talks about Sam Ali, a young, sensitive, and impulsive Syrian, who flees to Lebanon in hopes of escaping the Syrian civil war. Without legal status, he is unable in getting a visa to Europe, where his beloved Abeer lives. While in Beirut, he meets Jeffrey Godefroi, a famous American artist, with whom he strikes up a strange deal with that forever changes his life. “The Man Who Sold His Skin” was among the winning CineGouna SpringBoard projects in development at the 2nd edition of GFF. The film received the Edipo Re Inclusion Award, while actor Yahya Mahayni received the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor at the 77th Venice Film Festival. This film combines humanity and art simultaneously and effectively!

WE SAID THIS: “The Man Who Sold His Skin” is a breathtaking movie, and we can’t wait to watch the Oscars! Also check out 6 Regional Films That Deserve The Spotlight At The 42nd Cairo International Film Festival!