Nouri Bouzid (Noureddine Bouzid)
Director, screenwriter and actor (Sfax, Tunisia, 1945)
Born in Sfax in 1945, Nouri Bouzid studied at the film school INSAS in Brussels. From 1968 to 1972 he worked on his graduation film Duel. He worked as an apprentice with André Delvaux on Rendez-vous à Braye in 1972. From 1973 until 1979 he was imprisoned and tortured for being a member of the GEAST (Groupe d’Etudes et d’Action Socialiste Tunisien), a group of the leftist area: his experience was later to be revisited in his second feature, Safa’ih min dhahab (Golden Horseshoes). Once out of the prison, from 1979 to 1984 he practiced as assistant director in several Tunisian and foreign productions, among which Abdellatif Ben Ammar’s Aziza (1979) and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1980).
In 1986 he wrote and directed his first feature film, Rih Essed (The Man of Ashes), premiered at Cannes Film Festival and awarded as best film in Taormina and Carthage Film Festival. It was to be the first of several films produced by Ahmed Attia with his Cinétéléfilms. A few shorts and six more features will follow, among which Bent familia, premiered at Venice Film Festival in 1997 and Akher Film (Making of), awarded as best film at Taormina and Carthage Film Festival and for his screenplay and for best actor (Lotfi Abdelli) at Tribeca Film Festival. He participated as screenwriter also to several Tunisian films of reference, notably Samt el qusur (The Silences of the Palace, 1994) by Moufida Tlatli and Asfour Stah (Halfaouine – Boy of the Terraces, 1990) by Ferid Boughedir. Occasionally he had roles as actor, most of the times in his own features.
In thirty years of cinema, Bouzid imposed his name as the most relevant author of Tunisian film scene, being a relentless and uncompromising investigator of the taboos of his own society, from patriarchy to sexual repression, from political oppression to religious fundamentalism, and preparing the terrain for the log awaited Tunisian revolution of 2011. Bouzid is also a poet, writing in the Tunisian dialect.
Apart from being relatively well known to Italian art-house audience and film critics, Nouri was involved also in three projects related to Italian film industry. In 1987 he appeared in the role of Rabbi Fares in Franco Rossi’s TV movie Un bambino di nome Gesù, produced by Reteitalia and Leone Film and aired in two parts on April 1888, also starring many other Tunisian actors, among which Hichem Rostom, Fethi Haddaoui and Martine Gafsi. In 1992 he authored and directed a short called, in French, C’est Shéhérazade qu’on assassine (It’s Scheherazade We’re Killing) for the collective film Harb El Khalij… wa baad (The Gulf War, What Next?), featuring also shorts by Borhane Alaouié, Néjia Ben Mabrouk, Mostafa Darkaoui and Elia Suleiman, co-produced by Libra Film and RAI Tre and premiered at Venice Film Festival. In 2015, he was protagonist of a documentary made by Stefano Grossi, presented by Own Air and Propaganda Italia.
Un bambino di nome Gesù (Franco Rossi, 1988, tvm, act), La guerra del Golfo… e dopo (e Sheherazade ha tenuto il silenzio sul proibito) (1992, ff, d, sc), Nemico dell’Islam? Un incontro con Nouri Bouzid (Stefano Grossi, 2015, doc, act)
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi, with Andrea Capruzzi
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