The Last Queen and Land of Upright People


  • The Last Queen
  • Land of Upright People


El akhira. La dernière reine, Algery/France/Saudi Arabia/Qatar/Taiwan, 2022. Director Adila Bendimerad, Damien Ounouri. With Adila Bendimerad, Dali Benssaleh, Tahar Zaoui, Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Imen Noel. Running time 1h e 50’. 

The Last Queen (a.k.a. El akhira. La dernière reine) is set in Algerie at the time of Pirate Barbarossa. Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounori’s first feature is in competition at Venezia 79 Venice Days. The main character is Zaphira, Algerie’s last and legendary queen (Adila Bendimerad herself). When the famous Aroudj Barbarossa rid the city of the Spanish yoke seizing power himself, the only one to stand up was Zaphira. The portrait between history and myth of a woman that fought for her rights well represents this year’s Venice Days’ interest in the Mediterranean countries’ culture. Bendimerad previously appeared in the features Normal! (2011), El taaib (2012), Es-Stouh (2013), Still Burning (2016) and Parkour(s) (2019) and also in the medium-length Kindil El Bahr (2016), directed by Ounori.

Emanuele Bucci


Italy / Burkina Faso, 2022, Director: Christian Carmosino Mereu With: Sam’sk LeJah, Yiyé Constant Bazié, Assanata Ouedraogo, Ghost Running time: 106’

Land of Upright People is the product of a process that the director Christian Carmosino Mereu started in Burkina Faso right after the revolution and the following political transition in October 2014. Carmosino Mereu directed many documentaries based on his experience in Ouagadougou, the capital city of the African country, capturing a different and dynamic Africa infused by the daily struggle to improve its condition. “This movie wants to avoid stereotypes and is willing to show what mainstream media methodically hide”, the director says. Land of Upright People tells the story of four burkinabé citizens looking for their freedom: a musician, a candidate at the election, a union miner and the mother of a large, poor family.

Vania Amitrano

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