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Albert Samama-Chikli
"This fabulous madman filming with his funny machines"


a film by
Mahmoud BEN MAHMOUD
(29', 1996)

The purpose of this documentary film is to bring to light the life and achievements of one of the pioneers of the trade: Albert Samama Chikli, who has been almost completely forgotten although he was one of the very first cinematographers, an outstanding photographer and an adventurous reporter.

With his flamboyant personality and his fascination for modernity, he makes a captivating subject. His daughter Haydée, who also was the leading lady and scriptwriter of his feature films and , in all likelihood, the first Arab film actress of all times, is still alive and her testimony is the spine of the film.

But the substance is mostly the own work of this “ fabulous madman ”, thanks to a wealth of original photographs and newsreels by Albert Samama Chikli (who filmed his native land , Tunisia with much sensitivity, but also covered the First World War from the French side and brought back films and photos from as far away as China), as well as excerpts from his two feature films Zohra and Ain El Ghazel.

Written and directed by: Mahmoud BEN MAHMOUD
Length: 29'
Format: Beta SP and Digital Beta
Production year: 1996
Coproduction: Alif Productions / La Sept ARTE / Cinétélefilms and Canal + Horizons
Distribution: Alif Productions

Available in French and Arabic versions