Bac Films has acquired international sales and French distribution rights to Sofia Djama’s “The Blessed” (Les Bienheureux), the coming-of-age drama that’s world-premiering in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival.
“The Blessed” takes place in Algiers in 2008, two decades after the civil war of 1988 that ultimately led to the victory of the Islamic Salvation Front party and the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Set over the course of a fateful night, the film explores the consequences of this oppressive regime through the story of Amal and Samir, a middle-aged couple, and their 20-year-old son, Fahim, who is wandering the city with his friends. The film stars Sami Bouajila (“Days of Glory”) and Nadia Kaci (“Lola Pater”).
Djama said she was interested in confronting the perspectives of these two generations: those who were in their 20s in 1988, when the civil war “plunged the country into chaos,” and their children, who were about that same age in 2008, when “the world woke up to a global stock market crash, and peoples and countries drifted into bankruptcy and job insecurity.
“The younger generation is much more lucid than their elders, but they are also more exposed to the danger and the cruelty of the regime,” Djama said.
Produced by France’s Liaison Cinématographique and Belgium’s Artémis Prods., “The Blessed” is Djama’s feature debut. The director’s 2012 short, “Limply, One Saturday Morning,” won two awards at the Clermont Ferrand Intl. Short Film Festival. “The Blessed” was also supported by the Doha Film Institute.
Djama is one of the few first-time directors whom Bac Films is betting on and launching at major film festivals, said Gilles Sousa, Bac Films’ international sales head.
The company has recently worked with Thomas Cailley (“Love at First Fight”) and Léa Mysius, whose “Ava” premiered at Critics’ Week in Cannes.