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Tunisian films take centre stage at Venice Film Festival

(AGI) Venice, Sept 1 - Over the last two years, Tunisian films have been the jew...

Tunisian films take centre stage at Venice Film Festival
 Mostra Internazionale Cinematografica di Venezia (foto afp)

(AGI) Venice, Sept 1 - Over the last two years, Tunisian films have been the jewel of Arab cinema. With the exclusion of the Oscar nominations for "Omar" by Palestinian Hany Abu Asaad and "Theeb" by Jordanian Naji Abou Nawwar, Tunisian films have dominated the scene at international festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Locarno, and Venice. Tunisian films are in the spotlight once again at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, which runs until Sept. 10. Three out of the five Arab films presented have been directed by Tunisians: "The Last of Us" by Ala Eddine Slim, selected for the 'Horizons' section; "All the rest is the work of man" by Doria Achour; and "As I Open My Eyes" by Layla Bouzid, who is back at the Festival for the second year in a row. Her movie has already won at the Dubai Film Festival and Venice Days, and is one of the three candidates for the 'Oscars' of European cinema, the EU Parliament's LUX Prize. "Tunisia has always set itself apart in the world of Arab cinema. Its cinema clubs of the 1960s were veritable schools, not only for future talents but also for the public. Most of the masters of Tunisian cinema rose through the ranks in those places," said film critic and Artistic Director of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), Masoud Amralla Al Ali. "It's not a sporadic vitality, but a result that dates far back to Tunisia's traditions and productive wealth and the stability of its institutions", he added. Despite being the first country involved in the Arab Spring, Tunisia managed to avoid the same chaotic fate as Iraq, Syria and neighbouring Libya. "On the one hand, the government gave considerable support to the film industry. On the other hand, the shutting down and restriction of numerous foreign aid funds freed Tunisian film-makers from having to include stereotypes that would appeal to the European and Western public," Mr Amralla afirmed. Fiction movies, which have long been Tunisia's strongpoint, have seen a resurgence "after a short period of documentary works inspired by the protests. Directors, masters and young people have turned their attention back to fiction, in both short and feature-length movies", he concluded. (AGI). .