Namibian Re-Screening of the Tunisian feature “The Professor”, Wednesday, 09 April, 18h30, at the FNCC Windhoek

After the Namibian Premiere of “The Professor” last week, AfricAvenir and the FNCC invite to a ReScreening of the Tunisian filmThe Professor“ on Wednesday, 09 April, 18h30 at the FNCC, Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek. The screening is supported by MC Distribution.

Entrance: 20,- N$

The Tunisian fiction film “The Professor” was directed by Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud, and produced by Habib Bel Hadi in 2012. The film length is 92 minutes.
On 24 March the film won Certificate of Merit in the Freedom Price Category of the Luxor African Film Festival 2014.


Shot during the Arab Spring, this film couldn’t have come more timely, not only due to its subject but especially as it’s shooting authorisation was delayed by the authorities for several months, without giving specific reasons.  The film echoes the deterioration of human rights in Tunisia under recently deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and in doing so demonstrates one of the main forces driving Tunisia’s revolution of 2011. Indeed, the film is itself a document of the revolution – the film project was begun in 2010, during the dying days of Ben Ali’s reign, but the film was subject to official interference, and could only be completed after the ousted Ben Ali fled to exile.

Set in 1977 Tunis, “The Professor” is a deeply insightful film into the human rights situation in Tunisia in the late 1970ies. It depicts how the personal becomes painfully political and how an unjust system can’t be defended, as there is “no correct life in an incorrect system”. As Mahmoud started to make films in the 1970ies, the film has an old-school auteur film feel, which goes well with the story and the setting.
Khalsawi Khalil (played by Ahmed Hafiane), Professor of Constitutional Law is responsible by the ruling party to represent it in the newly created League of Human Rights, a largely toothless talking shop whose chief purpose seems to be whitewashing state oppression and undermining the “red gangrene” of Communist opposition. His mission is to defend the official positions in this period of tension between the government and unions. One day, Khalil learns that Houda, one of his students with whom he has an extramarital affair, was arrested in the south of the country with two Italian journalists who came to investigate on strikes in the phosphate mines.

The professor agonizes over whether to risk his career and marriage defending her, a dilemma further complicated by jealousy. As he gets more and more drawn into the situation, he soon finds his career and personal life in jeopardy.
The main actor Ahmed Hafiane is especially impressive in his pleasingly layered, prize-winning portrait of a suave apologist for tyranny slowly facing up to his own guilt, hypocrisy and moral vacancy. 

 “Prix du Meilleur Scenario”, 2012 Carthage Film Festival.
“Best Performance” for main actor Ahmed Hafiane, Arab Film Competition, 2012 Doha Tribeca Film Festival
“Certificate of Merit” in the Freedom Price Category, Luxor African Film Festival 2014.

About the director:
Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud was born in 1947 in Tuis, Tunisia, to a family of Turkish origin  who had settled in Tunisia in 1710. His father was a theologian and amateur artist and writer, which, to an extent, influenced the personality of the young Mahmoud. He studied at the INSAS Belgian school of cinema where he completed his graduation in field of filming. Later, he studied art history, archeology and journalism at the Free University of Brussels (ULB). These multidisciplinary studies gave him a solid training to face the field of cinema.

He first entered the film industry by participating in the writing of two films: The Son of Amr’s death (Le Fils d’Amr est mort) of Jean-Jaques Andrien and Kfar Kassem of  Borhana Alaoui. Soon after, Mahmoud made his first feature film Crossings (Traversées) in 1982. His second feature film, released in 1992, Chichkhan, Diamond Dust (Chichkhan, poussière de diamant) was selected for Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.  Mahmoud has also released a number of documentary films between 1992 and 2006, such as: Italiani dell’altra riva (1992), Anastasia de Bizerte (1996), Albert Samama-Chikli (1996), Ennejma Ezzahra (1998), The Thousand and One Voices (2001), Fadhel Jaibi, a Theatre in Freedom (2003) and The Beys of Tunis, a colonial monarchy in turmoil (Les Beys de Tunis, une monarchie dans la tourmente) (2006). Meanwhile, he has still continued to make films that have marked his film career success, such as Naps grenadines which was released in 2003.

Since 1988, Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud teaches scriptwriting at the Free University of Brussels.


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