The 42nd edition of Cinemed, the Mediterranean cinema festival in Montpellier, closed on October 29. In the charts, The Antigone d’or was awarded to Ashkala feature film by Tunisian Youssef Chabbi, which also won the BNP Paribas Critics’ Prize as well as the JAM Prize for best music for the work of composer Thomas Kuratli.
Ashkal evokes the police investigation after immolations in buildings under construction that 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.
Tunisia was also represented with the presence of a guest of honor, the Franco-Tunisian director Abdellative Kechiche. The day before closing, he participated in a masterclass which was sold out. It must be said that the filmmaker has been rare for three years. He who shot three of his films in Languedoc, including The grain and the mule, youis actively working on the release of the last two parts of his trilogy Mektoub My Love. But the arrival of the director aroused the anger of feminist demonstrators.
Ophélie Bau, nominated for the César for her performance in the first part, Mektoub My Love – Canto Uno (2016), had climbed the steps but slipped away before the screening of the film Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo. The director, Palme d’or in 2013 for The Life of Adele, had not appeared in public since this episode. We did not know anything about the state of progress of the film, although he promised to modify the editing to remove the plans that would interfere with his actress, like his third part.
“They are filmed, they are editing, re-editing. I’ve been spending my time there for all these years. I did practically only that: go up, go up, try… I hope the end of Mektoub soon“, explained the 61-year-old filmmaker during this masterclass.
“I also write screenplays, but I’m not sure yet which one I’m going to tackle soon in preparation, casting, etc…“, he added, suggesting that he would probably shoot again in this Occitanie region where he “feel good“.
Before and after this master class, about twenty people demonstrated in front of the convention center to denounce the director’s arrival, accusing him of “Sexism” in his way of filming women and denouncing his working methods which would amount to harassment. “Working with actors and actresses sometimes goes wonderfully well, and then sometimes it can also go very badly.“, recognized the director, saying however that he preferred the “dirty laundry is washed as a family“.
Returning to the progress of the projection of Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo at Cannes in 2019, he claimed that he “was unaware at the time of what happened” that night. “I didn’t know that the two actors most concerned with the film had left. Otherwise, the screening would not have taken place“, he assured. A few feminist activists then interrupted him from the ranks of the public, chanting “Here too, we get up and break“, in reference to the shattering departure of Adèle Haenel during the César 2020 after a prize awarded to Roman Polanski.
Invited to speak at the microphone, one of them denounced his arrival, noting in particular that he had been the subject of a complaint for sexual assault (classified without follow-up in 2020). “I think you’re serving the cause you’re supposed to be fighting for“, replied the filmmaker calmly. “We fight as we want“, replied the young woman.
“I believe that the films I make have spoken and that I don’t need to make a speech about these films to [que l’on comprenne] that everything I’m accused of is downright stupid“, then sighed the director.
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Director Abdellatif Kechiche promises new film releases in intervention booed by feminists