France | 2022 | 88 min. | Lotfy Nathan

A gripping sociopolitical thriller about a young Tunisian petrol bootlegger who, dreaming of a better life, is pushed to the brink by misfortune, injustice, and government corruption still in place over a decade after the Arab Spring.

It's been more than a decade since Mohamed Bouazizi, a 27-year-old Tunisian street vendor driven to desperation by corruption, poverty, and injustice, set himself on fire. His death ignited the Jasmine Revolution, which in turn launched the Arab Spring. In Harka, director Lotfy Nathan, a former documentarian, makes his fiction debut with an insightful and deeply humane exploration of the circumstances that could lead to such a desperate act, as well as an assessment of what has changed in the aftermath. Ali is another young man just trying to get by. He ekes out a living selling contraband gasoline on the street, where he's routinely shaken down by local police. He saves what he can and dreams of fleeing the country in search of a better life in Europe. Those dreams are disrupted when his father dies and his older brother leaves to take a job out of town. Ali finds himself called home to take responsibility for his younger sisters. Non-professional actors lend authenticity in supporting roles, but French-Tunisian actor Adam Bessa's empathic performance as Ali is the heart and soul of the film (Bessa won the Best Performance Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival). The compassion and indignation we feel for Ali is the redemptive magic of the film, an impassioned condemnation of indifference to human suffering.

Justine Barda

  • Director: Lotfy Nathan
  • Principal Cast: Ikbal Harbi, Salima Maatoug, Najib Allagui, Adam Bessa
  • Country: France, Germany, USA, Tunisia
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 88 min.
  • Producer: Habib Attia, Maurice Fadida, Fabian Gasmia, Alex Hughes, Eugene Kotlyarenko, Riccardo Maddalosso, Tariq Merhab, Lotfy Nathan, Benoit Roland, Nicole Romano, Donato Rotunno, Julie Viez
  • Screenplay: Lotfy Nathan
  • Cinematographers: Maximilian Pittner
  • Editors: Thomas Niles, Sophie Corra
  • Music: Eli Keszler
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Cannes Film Festival 2022 (Best Performance)
  • Filmography: 12 O’Clock Boys (doc. 2013)
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Film Constellation