They drew stars in our hearts!
The JCC in their 33rd edition will pay tribute to the pioneers who have marked our cinema with their creativity, their commitment, their intelligence, their patience, their pugnacity and by their resistance to any form of dogma or authority. Their experience has been edifying and constructive for an entire generation.
As a token of gratitude, the JCC team would like to pay tribute to these "icons" of Arab and African cinematography. A tribute worthy of these men and women who had a dream, and who transformed their dream into reality. These men and women who followed the festival very closely continued to believe that it represented the only generous gleam of hope during dreary and unimaginative times.
Our tributes will be paid both to the living icons and as well as to those who have left us in the presence of their loved ones and those who rubbed shoulders with them during their fabulous journey. Because these dreamers knew how to follow their paths relentlessly, because they transformed their ordinary lives into destiny, because they knew how to draw stars in our hearts while remaining dignified and proud until the end, all our gratitude goes to them today.
Thus this section has chosen to pay tribute this year to the Tunisian actor Hichem Rostom (1947-2022), and Kalthoum Bornaz (1945-2016), technician, director and producer, Algeria’s Yamina Bachir-Chouikh (1954-2022), editor and director, Morocco’s Mohammed Abderrahman Tazi, director, Egypt’s Daoud Abdel Sayed, director and the Ivorian actress Naky Sy Savané.
One of their common denominators is that they are all children of the JCC and have experienced moments of great emotion and glory. Those who are still with us will share their vivid emotions with the audience and prolong the aura of the festival through the films they have come to present, the memories they have come to share and the festival’s unique memory of which they are the custodians.
What Hichem Rostom left among us after a furtive disappearance is the image of a great and talented actor, but also his generosity of heart illustrated by his humanitarian actions at the end of his life. These qualities could already be seen in his acting.
Hichem Rostom was an actor of immense generosity when he engaged in a role. The proposed films « Golden Horseshoes» (1989) by Nouri Bouzid and « Essaïda » (1996) by Mohamed Zran attests to this fact. His passion for acting both on cinema screens, on stage and on television was immense and will remain in our memories.
Kalthoum Bornaz, who left us in 2016, was one of the first Tunisians who studied at IDHEC (currently Fémis) to obtain a diploma as a film editor.
She also gave her woman's heart to the big screen where she began as a technician and became a director. A committed director, activist and a woman for whom the values of secularism and gender equality represent a yellow line. We will all watch her « Keswa » (1998) and « The Other Half of the Sky » (2008).
Yamina Bachir-Chouikh also comes from film editing studios, one of the first Algerian women technicians who moved on to directing with a first movie that shook the world of the cinema when it was released. We will propose « Rachida » (2002), a film where the director expresses her fierce opposition to the terrorism that has struck Algeria during the dark decade. Her second feature film « Yesterday... today and tomorrow » (2010) advocates the same resistance, but this time bringing the voices of the Algerian women mujahedeen to the screen.
Qualified as "memory films", the works of filmmaker Abderrahman Tazi, highlight the filmmaker's "competence" in recreating the past and representing it to the viewer in vivid fashion. The choice of Abderrahman Tazi shows how important this Moroccan filmmaker is in the history of Arab and African cinematography, if only through his cinematographic language. His film « In quest of my wife's husband » (1993) is directed by the Tunisian Kahena Attia.
A win win South-South collaboration both edifying and perennial. It was « Badis » (1989), winner of the 1990 Tanit d’or which gave birth to the collaboration of the two filmmakers which continues until today and will lead to the creation of Tazi's latest film, « Fatema, the unforgettable sultana » (2022), a film about the journey of the writer and activist Fatema Mernissi which will be screened for the first time in Tunisia and in Africa.
There is also Daoud Abdel Sayed, Youssef Chahine's first assistant who became a director as powerful as his mentor and whose cinema is both committed and creative. A cinema that marks the Egyptian neo-realistic school. The films on offer are : « In Search of Sayed Marzouq » (1990) and « The citizen, the informant and the thief » (2001) that not only attempt to portray the realistic existence of the Egyptian people, but also attempt to show how its reality undergoes processes of change. In both films events and people become absurd, arbitrary and unpredictable, while an omnipresent and unreasonable police apparatus controls life. His cinema opposes a resistance to classical narratives both in form and in substance.
The career of the actress Naky Sy Savané is in line with that of the cinema produced in Ivory Coast and other surrounding countries. Paying tribute to her is also paying tribute to a part of the history of African cinema. But there is also the actress and the woman. A long career punctuated by numerous distinctions and awards. The granddaughter of an Imam, she began her career anonymously by using the surname "Naky". Initially for her it was out of the question to make movies! And this was one of the first militant stances of the actress: to make movies anyway. She won her challenge in the films on offer in this session of the JCC, « Dancing in the dust » (1988) by Henri Duparc and « Night of truth ». (2004) by Fanta Régina Nacro.
But there is more than the cinema! There was also the cause of women. Her first earnings as an actress went to social works and the continuing struggle against theviolence linked to traditions such as excision. Naky Sy Savane who moved from resistance fighter to activist, to become a celebrated actress, receives today the tributes of the JCC.
The JCC since their inception have become the breeding ground for all Arabic and African expressions of the 7th art. The JCCs also witnessed the birth of several film directors who made their first steps thanks to the festival, and whose writings and language have today become well established.
What emotions these filmmakers, some of whom are still among us, have shared with the Tunisian public! In the French word Hommage (homage) there is "Man" and " age ". Long life and eternal glory to these great men and great ladies of the cinema of resistance and commitment and the figures of a cinema named desire.