Screencap from the film's trailer, Mar. 31, 2018 – YouTube/Bandes Annonces Cinéma.
CAIRO – 31 March 2018: The 2017 French drama “The Blessed” (Les Bienheureux) will be screening as part of the Cairo Cinema Days event sometime during Apr. 23 and Apr. 29, 2018 which will be held at Karim Cinema, Cimatheque and Zamalek Cinema.
The debut film for young director Sofia Djama, "The Blessed" is the story of Algiers in the aftermath of its devastating 1990 civil war between the government and the Armed Islamic Group, which ended in 2002 and saw the loss of nearly 200,000 lives. It almost destroyed the nation, with many Algerians fleeing abroad and others left behind in the ruins of what they once thought was a safe country.
Flash-forward to 2008, and Djama sets the action on various characters across a single day, such as married couple Amal (Nadia Kaci) and Samir (Sami Bouajila), who decide to celebrate their 20th anniversary together, though the happy occasion gives way to bitterness as they discuss the state of their country and how much bleaker the future looks now. Their teenage son, Fahim (Amine Lansari), hangs out with his friends, the devoutly religious punk-rocker Reda (Adam Bessa) and his more liberal friend Feriel (Lyna Khoudri), who have each been affected by the war in their own ways and will too, find themselves changed by this night they spend together, reflecting on wounds of the past left behind on a city that just can't move on.
Djama was born in 1979 in Oran, Algeria, and later moved to Algiers to finish up her Bachelor's degree in Literature. Originally a writer, her first work was a short story collection centered on the city of Algiers, which she adapted into her first short film "Mollement, Un Samedi Matin" (2012). It received solid critical acclaim, enough to convince Djama to pursue filmmaking as her next course in life.
"The Blessed" won various awards at the Venice Film Festival, such as the Brian Award, the Lina Mangiacapre Award and the Venice Horizons Award, which went to actress Lyna Khoudri.