Nouri Bouzid
France, Germany, Morocco, Tunisia 2006 | 120 Min. | 35 mm, OmU

The young Tunisian, Bahta (Lotfi Abdel­li), has dreams of becom­ing a famous break-dancer. But break­danc­ing is frowned upon in Tunisia, and the police fre­quent­ly harass the dancers. He has no edu­ca­tion, no job, and is con­stant­ly stressed out about his rela­tion­ship with his girl­friend. Any chance he might have had of flee­ing to Europe was dashed by the Iraq war. A group of ter­ror­ists appear and attempt to con­vince Bahta to join their fight – at this point, a second nar­ra­tive level is revealed. Lead actor Lotfi Abdel­li steps out from behind the char­ac­ter of Bahta and accus­es his direc­tor of manip­u­la­tion, claim­ing he signed up to play a dancer, not a ter­ror­ist. In three “making of” sequences, inter­cut with the plot devel­op­ment, the actor stops to dis­cuss the film’s theses with its direc­tor. The set­ting of his story is exposed as a set, the action as a film plot – fic­tion and real­i­ty blur together.

Why are so many youths attract­ed to the idea of killing and dying? -In an inter­view with Laris­sa Bender, Nouri Bouzid describes how many Arab youths are “lost” spir­i­tu­al­ly and “des­per­ate in eco­nom­ic terms.“ Accord­ing to the direc­tor, these con­di­tions lay the foun­da­tion for Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism, which is well posi­tioned to take advan­tage of their inner frus­tra­tion with rigid social struc­tures and their open anger towards the West’s arro­gant poli­cies in the region. “The film makes clear where the respon­si­bil­i­ty lies. I believe we are all respon­si­ble: The police, the lack of free­dom, family struc­tures, the fail­ure of our edu­ca­tion­al system – we all con­tribute to the sit­u­a­tion of these youths and the Islamists simply come along and ‘pluck’ them from the tree.“

Lotfi Abdel­li recent­ly earned the best actor award at FESPACO, the pan-African fes­ti­val of film and tele­vi­sion in Oua­gadougou, Burk­i­na Faso. MAKING OF -KAMIKAZE won best film at the Carthage Film Fes­ti­val in Tunisia.