Kaouther Ben Hania, the Oscar-nominated director of “The Man Who Sold His Skin” whose latest film “Four Daughters” is competing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, will next direct “Mimesis,” an epic love story set in Tunisia.
While the plot is under wraps, the story is set in two different periods, the 1990s and the 1940s, paying tribute to cinema and Arab-Muslim cultural heritage. It’s being produced by Nadim Cheikhrouha at Tanit Films, who produced Ben Hania’s “Four Daughters” and her previous film “The Man Who Sold His Skin” which world premiered at Venice where it won best actor for Yahya Mahayni and was nominated for best international film at the Oscars in 2021.
Mahayn starred in the film as a Syrian refugee who accepts to have a large Schengen visa, the document he desperately needs to enter Europe, tattooed on his back by a famous artist, thus becoming a human artwork to be exhibited in a Brussels museum.
“Four Daughters,” which is also politically minded, weaves documentary and fiction, exploring the story of Tunisia’s Olfa Hamrouni who rose to international prominence in April 2016 when she publicized the radicalization of her two teenage daughters who had left Tunisia to fight with ISIS.
The sole Arab film entry of the competition, “Four Daughter” is headlined by Egyptian-Tunisian star Hend Sabri in the role of an actor trying to play Hamrouni with the help of the real Olfa.
“Mimesis” will be co-produced by Lassaad and Rafik Kilani as well as Sarah Chazelle and Etienne Ollagnier, co-owners of Jour2Fête, who will also handle the film’s distribution in France. The movie has already secured support from Région Ile-de-France, Red Sea Fund and ART. It will start shooting next year.
“We are thrilled to launch pre-sales for this ambitious and romanesque project which also explores the power of image. And to pursue our collaboration with Kaouther, especially on this project where she maintains a strong and demanding filmmaking style,” said Samuel Blanc and Estelle De Araujo, co-heads of sales at The Party Films Sales.
Also in Cannes, The Party Film Sales is showcasing “Mambar Pierrette,” a poignant portrayal of a
Cameroonian woman by Rosine Mbakam which is playing at Directors’ Fortnight. The banner is also screening Pascal Plisson’s new film “We Have a Dream” at the market.
Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.