honoured with the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award 2022

The winner in 2022 was the Tunisian filmmaker and musician Youssef Chebbi. His documentary co-directed work 'Babylon' about Libyan refugees in Tunisia won the Grand Prix at the Marseille Documentary Film Festival and was screened at MoMa and elsewhere. Ashkal' is his feature film debut.


A few years after the Arab Spring, the Tunisian capital is shaken by the discovery of mysterious burn victims. A beautifully shot, stirring crime drama that brings together politics and the supernatural.

It was a public self-immolation that sparked off the Arab Spring. Of recent, a mysterious fire has again started burning in Tunis. The charred remains of a security guard are found. We are in the “Jardins de Carthage”, a district that was originally conceived for the dignitaries of the old regime. Ever since its construction was halted by the revolution of 2011, it has stood as a symbol – eerie and compelling – of all that is unfinished. Fatma, a police detective as modern as she is rebellious, takes over the investigation together with her colleague Batal. The first witness statements point to a suicide, but the detectives aren’t convinced. In parallel to their investigation, the “Truth and Dignity Commission” (an actual body that was active until 2018) are conducting an inquiry into the despotism of the old government. This leads to brutal score-settling among the police – violence is everywhere. A contemporary story of unfulfilled political hope rendered as an atmospheric, vibrant, and intoxicatingly beautiful film noir.

Countries: Tunisia, France

2021 | 92 min | Arabic
Subtitles: German, English

Starring_ Fatma Oussaifi, Mohamed Houcine Grayaa, Rami Harrabi Screenplay_ Youssef Chebbi, François-Michel Allegrini Producer_ Farès Ladjimi Cinematography_ Hazem Berrabah Rights_The Party Film Sales

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