N is coming from the desert to reach the north of Africa and make an illegal crossing to Europe. Alone in Tunisia, he decides to cross the solitary sea. He steals a boat and begins his journey, but it soon sinks into the water. From that moment, N embarks in a special and unique voyage: he discovers different and infinite spaces, makes intense and fleeting encounters, and meets another altered image of himself.
- Lion of the Future - Venice IF Critics' Week
- Tunisian submission for the Academy Awards
- Jawher Soudani
- Fathi Akkari
- Jihed Fourti
- Ala Eddine Slim
- Amine Messadi
- Ala Eddine Slim
- Tarek Louati
The project THE LAST OF US is a sequel of my previous films. It is a continuity of research in the themes that are of importance to me: the problems of borders, imaginary territories, contemporary solitude, vagrancy, the issues of crossing and of the human nature in all its facets. The project tackles the realm of magical realism, of the ephemeral, and of disappearance and mutation.
The problem of illegal sea crossings towards the northern end of the Mediterranean has existed for many years. During these travels, many people die at sea, and others succeed in reaching the other side. Moreover, there are those who go missing and whose bodies are never found. N, the leading character in The Last of Us, is a missing body.
The film is divided into two parts: the pre-crossing stage, and the post-crossing stage. The first filmic space is a desert, and the first shot is focused on the shining sun. N is present through his ghostly shape; he is already condemned to undergo mutation. Borders do not exist. There is only one territory to be shared: that of imagination.
Having been through a long journey, N finds himself in a country whose language and people he ignores. This country is a sort of transitional bridge and the situation turns out to be more complicated than he thought it would be.
N is separated from his companion during a hold-up by a group of smugglers, and he finds himself alone in an unknown country.
The second filmic space is the city of Tunis, a small capital. Its night life is quite dark and it takes place in alleys or behind closed doors. The city is characterized by a unique type of coldness. It is marked by very special encounters and devastating waves of indiscriminate consumption. Screens, board signs, shopping windows are everywhere to take people away and project them into a plastic, soulless universe.
N continues his solitary journey and tries to cross the sea illegally all by himself, towards a future in a European country that he imagines is better. In the second part of the film, events take a rather surrealist turn and N makes special encounters with one man, animals, nature, and corpses. He rediscovers his body and his relationship with a primary nature. A certain balance between the human face and the wild landscape is achieved throughout the forest. The encounter between N and the second character, M, is crucial and decisive. It is an altered encounter between two men. M has lived in the forest for years; he has adjusted to that type of life and has learned to live in it despite the dangers and hardships. However, he is confronted with hostile forces that want to control the territory: the wolves. N watches from afar the endless war between M and the wolves, until the day M is defeated. The demise of the temporary guide M compels N to resume his journey alone. Just like the country of transition, M was a learning tool of transition for N. The latter finds himself alone in the interminable forest.
N no longer seeks to meet other humans or to improve his conditions. He is taken by the source and is absorbed by the air. He merges with the land, and, most importantly, he is introduced to a new type of peace of mind. N has been chosen by the forest to become one of its eternal inhabitants. The halo of light is N's new companion. It protects him and guides him towards another possible land. The end of the film takes place around a waterfall that collects all the waters in the forest: the wellspring.
N's body is recovered. This missing body reappears in its most natural state: that of a definitive fusion with the early forms of life, nature in all its facets. N is neither dead nor alive, he is in a perpetual state of transformation.
- EXIT PRODUCTIONS
- INSIDE PRODUCTIONS
- MADBOX STUDIOS
- STILL MOVING
A film that deliberately flees from history and geography.
An allegorical tale about the situation in North Africa
I feel more attracted to a cinema that is sometimes called a cinema of the “margin”. It’s a cinema that is experimenting all the time, a very lively cinema that keeps moving, mutating, connecting elsewhere.
Ala Eddine Slim is a Tunisian filmmaker. He has directed several short films, art videos and feature films, selected and multi-awarded in many international film festivals: Clermont-Ferrand, Grand Prix FID Marseille for BABYLON (2012), Lion of the Future, Best Technical Contribution at the Venice Film Festival in 2016, and Tanit d’Or at JCC for THE LAST OF US (2016).
TLAMESS (2019), his second fiction film, had its world premiere at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.