Al Maljaa

Nadia Touijer
Belgium, Tunisia | 2003 | 24 min
Language : Arabic
Subtitle : French

The camera enters the Jallez cemetery on the outskirts of Tunis, giving access to a parallel world where the shadows of beggars rub shoulders with graves and their dead. The cemetery is becoming a haven of peace and a protected space surrounded by the city; a place of survival and hope, but also of integration and learning.

The first images of Nadia Touijer’s film are almost stolen: the director faces a ban on filming, on seeing and being seen. From the start, the viewer senses the existence of a secret that should not be revealed. Nonetheless, the camera succeeds in skirting the obstacle and enters the Jallez cemetery on the outskirts of Tunis: a parallel world where the shadows of beggars rub shoulders with graves is unveiled. The living and dead alike find themselves here in search of mercy. The voiceover of the beggar who guides us through this secret garden reveals a daily life in which the dead give work to the living. His precise and delicate gestures, with which he whitens and embellishes the tombs, are like a sacred ritual. The cemetery is becoming a haven of peace and a protected space surrounded by the city, a suspended world where beggars are not ashamed of their lives; lost souls don’t judge. A place of survival and hope, as well as of integration and learning.

Jasmin Basic

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