If the usual spate of problems—traffic, security concerns, in-fighting among members of the ruling party—is getting you down, it’s time to set your sights on a week of dreamy filmic escape and fill out your agenda for the Carthage Film Festival (Les Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, or JCC, in French). The 26th edition of the now-annual event kicks off later this month, promising fun and excitement, and one of the best selections of Arab and African films in the world.
More than 500 films from 56 different countries will be shown at theaters in Tunis and other cities from November 21 to November 28, as part of a festival that has been dedicated to promoting cinema from the region since the mid-1960s. You can already preview the films in French on the festival website, and a complete English program is coming soon to Tunisia Live.
Brahim Letaief, director of the 2015 festival, has summed up this year’s guiding principles as “discuss, dream, and progress” and said he expects over 150,000 spectators to attend screenings in more than 13 cities throughout Tunisia.
Members of the public “are the true investors in the JCC, and I’d like to thank them.” Letaief said Tuesday at a press conference at the Whatever Saloon in downtown Tunis. “Although we will provide 300 festival passes [to critics, filmmakers, musicians and other VIPs], the festival is open to public. It is for them.”
There is even a series of screenings scheduled at a prison, with director-discussions to follow.
This year’s JCC will pay homage to iconic filmmakers and artists including the Portuguese director Manoel De Oliveira and the Sfax-born auteur Nouri Bouzid. Official Selection films, mostly from Arab and African nations, will compete for 120,000 dinars in prizes. These include nine works by Tunisian directors.
Opening and closing ceremonies will be hosted, respectively, by local artist Mourad Zaghdoudi and the celebrated Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef.