Screen can exclusively reveal the first trailer for The Last Queen, the debut fiction feature of filmmakers Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri.
The Algerian film has its world premiere in Giornate degli Autori (formerly Venice Days) tomorrow (Sunday 4).
It is produced by Bendimerad for her Algerian outfit Taj Intaj, alongside Patrick Sobelman for Belgium’s Agat Films. The Party Film Sales is selling the title.
Written by Bendimerad and Ounouri, The Last Queen is set in 1516 when a pirate frees Algiers from Spanish tyranny, but then seizes power amid rumours he murdered the King. Against all odds, the Queen Zaphira stands up to him.
Bendimerad also stars in the film, alongside Dali Benssalah – who also stars in Romain Gavras Venice Competition title Athena.
The film is one of the first costume dramas to emerge from Algeria. “There was an excitement and a thirst to explore an era outside of socio-cultural and religious issues that constitute most of Algerian films, from what is referred to as “the South”, but also outside of colonial history,” said Ounouri. “We allowed ourselves to freely conquer our history and our imagination. There was something along the lines of emancipation, which is joyous and healthy.”
“We can’t continue to move forward with the black holes of our past without some place to lean back,” added Bendimerad. “We’re missing about a thousand and one films to tell the history of Algeria, of all the underrepresented regions and cultures. For too long, we’ve been “told about” by others as natives without individuality or subjectivity. We have to reclaim the power of our stories.”