Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation
Set amongst derelict, half-finished apartment complexes of a former regime, the discovery of a mysterious burnt body by two police officers reveals a puzzling repetition of events. As the investigation progresses, a network of violence and corruption is uncovered throughout the city.
Cinematographer Hazem Berrabah offers striking juxtaposing visuals of sheep grazing on open fields next to grey concrete structures. Half-built complexes with their innumerable exposed rebar present like monsters bearing sharp teeth and long claws.
The defiance by detectives keeps your attention steady. No one wants to be told they cannot do their job. Performances from stars Fatma Oussaifi and Mohamed Houcine Grayaa are spellbinding. Their moody and grounded work feels personal and devastating. Oussaifi’s reaction to the overwhelming amount of misogyny hits hard. The writing is hard to shake, a compliment for writer-director Youssef Chebbi and co-writer François-Michel Allegrini.
US audiences who love TRUE DETECTIVE will love this film. This allegory for the return of self-immolation as a revolutionary protest engages a supernatural element that keeps the audience transfixed on the story. Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation has completely unexpected, bold storytelling leaving you with more questions than answers. Do not miss it.
August 18th: NYC (Roxy Cinemas)
August 18th: LA (American Cinematheque Los Feliz, Lumiere Music Hall)
September 1st: Boulder (Dairy Center)
September 8th: Chicago (Music Box)
Director: Youssef Chebbi
Writer: François-Michel Allegrini, Youssef Chebbi
Producer: Farès Ladjimi
Cast: Fatma Oussaifi, Mohamed Houcine Grayaa, Aymen Ben Hmida
Festivals: Cannes Director’s Fortnight, Toronto International Film Festival, Beyond Fest
92 MIN / 2022 / TUNISIA, FRANCE, QATAR / ARABIC, FRENCH / THRILLER, HORROR