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Montreal is competing for the Golden Bear

Montreal is competing for the Golden Bear

The first feature film by Montrealer Maryam Joobor, Where we come fromwas selected in the 74th official competitionH The Berlin International Film Festival, which takes place next month. Al-Kibi, of American-Tunisian descent, will compete for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, alongside big names in international auteur cinema such as Olivier Assayas, Bruno Dumont, Hong Sang-soo, Abderrahmane Sissako, and Mati Diop.


How do we feel when one of the four biggest film festivals in the world gives us such an honor? “It's a bit surreal, to be honest. I think I'll only believe it when I'm there with the whole team,” the young director told me, contacted Monday in Paris, where she is wrapping up the mixing of her film, which was co-produced by Canada. France and Tunisia.

Despite being 32 years old, Maryam Jabbour is not in her prime. His latest short film is disturbing and poetic BrothersThe film was a finalist for the 2020 Academy Awards. It screened at over 150 festivals, winning 75 international awards, including Best Short Film at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as taking home an award at the Gala Québec Cinéma.

Where do we come from? It was co-produced by Maria Gracia Turgeon and Annick Blanc from Montreal production house Midi la Nuit (behind the excellent short Wildcat Directed by Jeremy Count), stars Salha Nasraoui, Mohamed Hussein Jaraya, Malek Chergui, Adam Bessa, Dia Lian, Rayne Chergui, and Shaker Chergui.

Most of these actors were from the cast BrothersWhich tells the story of a young Tunisian man who returns to his family a year after leaving for Syria to fight in the ranks of ISIS. He returns, to the happiness of his mother and younger siblings, but to the despair of his father, the shepherd who finds it difficult to digest the return of the prodigal son on the arm of a woman wearing the niqab.

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Where we come fromwhich was his working title MotherhoodRather, it is concerned with the mother’s view of her older children who went to jihad, when one of them returns to the village with his very young wife.

Image provided from noon at night

Still from the movie Where we come from

“I see films as yin and yang,” the author and director explains to me. The two stories are complementary. The context is similar, but the treatment of story, point of view, and themes are different. I felt like I was exploring a whole new area. »

I changed the title of the film when I realized that the question I had been asking for five years was: Who owns my life? This is a question that touches me deeply and is what drove the making of this film.

Maryam Jabbour, director

Meriem Jabbour spent her early childhood in Tunisia, but grew up in the United States, where she was born during her father's graduate studies. She arrived in Montreal in 2009 to study at McGill University, then in film at Concordia University. She decided to stay, like many other artists from abroad who studied at university here.

“My cinematographer [Vincent Gonneville] She just messaged me to remind me that eight years ago, on this day, we were exploring in northern Tunisia and met the three brothers who starred in both films. We went on a road trip to find inspiration and creativity, and it resulted in an unforgettable life experience. »

Where we come from It is one of only two feature films in the official competition of this 74th competitionH Berlinale, which opens on February 15 Little things like this The film, directed by Belgian Tim Millants, is about the Catholic Church's treatment of Irish women in the 1980s, and is produced by and stars Cillian Murphy, who is expected to be nominated for an Oscar on Tuesday for his role in the film. Oppenheimer – It is also among 20 films in competition.

The jury, headed by Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o, the first black woman to hold this position, is scheduled to award the Golden Bear award on February 25, after it was awarded to the documentary. Ali Al-Mu'tasim For Frenchman Nicolas Philibert in 2023.

Among the candidates we find in particular Another end By the Italian Piero Messina (Certificate), with Gael Garcia Bernal and Bérénice Bejo, Black tea By Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako, an excellent director Timbuktu, Traveler's needs Written by South Korean Hong Sang-soo with Isabelle Huppert, DahomeyA documentary film by French-Senegalese director Mati Diop (Atlantic), Finished By the Frenchman Olivier Assayas (Emotional fates), a biographical story with Vincent McCain as the alter ego of the director, who was confined during the pandemic with his brother (journalist Mishka Assayas), different man By American director Aaron Shimberg, who caused a sensation at the Sundance Film Festival last week, as well Empire By the Frenchman Bruno Dumont (Humanity, France), with Camille Cottin and Fabrice Luchini, was announced as an imitation of star Wars…

“We are particularly proud of this year’s selection, which strikes the best possible balance between the authors we admire and cherish, and strong new voices in the independent film scene,” artistic director Carlo Chatrian, who is in his final year at the university, said on Monday. Head of the Berlinale.

Chatrian also revealed on Monday the works of the parallel section Encounters, including the first film by French writer Christine Angot, family, a biographical documentary on the subject of incest. Several other films have already been announced in recent weeks, including Quebec's Philippe Lesage (Demons, Genesis), which will be provided Like fire In the Generation section dedicated to young audiences. An honorary Golden Bear will also be awarded to American educator Martin Scorsese.

Myriam Joobor would win her first Quebecois Prix d'Or for a feature film since then The Apprenticeship by Dodi Kravitz By Ted Kotcheff in 1974? Journalism It will come in handy to answer this question.