Tlamess, by Ala Eddine Slim
An ambiguous object which slides from realism to mystical fairytales, Ala Eddine Slim’s Tlamess (2019) feature two stories which at first appear distinct: that of S, a deserter soldier, and that of F, a pregnant woman. Two anonymous individuals in the midst of changes who will ultimately meet.
A passion for independence
Born on 11th November 1982 in Sousse, Tunisia, Ala Eddine Slim studied multimedia arts. Wanting to be independent, in 2005 he and Ali Hassouna co-founded Exit Productions, one of the first independent Tunisian film production institutions. This creation, both strategic and economic, still funds most of his works.
His latest feature film, Tlamess (2019), has been praised by critics as a bold narrative, at the crossroads of several film genres. The work was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
“This is the story of two dreamers, two loners, two wanderers,” summarises Ala Eddine Slim.
Tlamess presents the slow, silent, allegorical transformation of two characters. S, a Tunisian soldier who deserted, and F, a woman who doesn’t know what to make of the news that she’s pregnant. They don’t know each other, and in the absence of any logic connecting their development, S and F will end up crossing ways, with destinies which become entangled and finally resolve in a mysterious forest.
An unusual universe
Although it features a contemporary setting, the world of Tlamess is difficult to contextualise: it depicts a universe of its own which rarely follows familiar rules when it comes to logic and discourse.
To frame the his plot, Ala Eddine Slim makes liberal use of long tracking shots and wide angles, sometimes focusing on typically Mediterranean flora, sometimes the raw dryness of the asphalt.
“The key thing for me is to be as free as possible in what I do,” filmmaker Ala Eddine Slim often states. This desire to work in the margins of contemporary film production can be a risky position, but it is precisely this difference that has earned him a selection for the film Tlamess at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight.
Directly inspired by the mystery that characterised Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Tlamess prioritises interpretation, and marks a resolute return to the basic forms of cinema, namely the interaction between bodies, sets and sounds.
In 2018, the film Tlamess by Ala Eddine Slim received support from the Aide aux cinémas du monde fund.
This Institut français programme provides support to foreign film-makers for film projects co-produced with France, whether they be feature-length fiction, animated films or creative documentaries. Find out more about the Aide aux cinémas du monde programme