Making of Je ne meurs jamais, Nouri Bouzid’s new film

Exclusive interview with the Tunisian director on the set of his latest film in Tunis

It's Sunday. The director is surrounded by his two daughters. “My oldest daughter is replacing the script girl who couldn’t make it today,” he explains.  “She’s a student in film directing, she’s very talented.” 

He then points to another young girl who is there for the shoot: “That’s my youngest daughter. Even though she can get a little bit in the way during filming, I take her with me because it’s Sunday and because on principle, she spends every Sunday with me. It’s sacred.”

Nouri Bouzid has recruited young technicians for his film crew. “The only way to stay young is to surround yourself with young people,” he says with a big smile. 

He seems happy. Filming is going according to plan and the timing of the shoot is going well beyond what was predicted.

Now that the Tunisian cultural landscape is free from the constraints of political dictatorship, that artists are less subject to pressures or to censorship, Nouri Bouzid is able to create again to tell a new life story, a story written before January 2011, and the dictatorship’s fall, but revisited and corrected according to the country’s new perspective.

Bouzid’s film speaks against intolerance. He explains how the idea for the film came about: 

“This script was born from a meeting with Joumana Lymam, a young Tunisian writer, during the Alexandria Festival. We had all been shocked by the widespread use of the hijab in Egypt. In the beginning, this screenplay was supposed to talk about Egypt, but we weren’t able to go through with the project. So, I adapted it to the Tunisian situation before the revolution. Now that the context has changed, the film will be more rooted in this new situation, seen and experienced by two friends. The first woman is engaged to a jealous man who lacks self-confidence. She is under the pressure of this fiancé who demands that she wear the veil. The other one, who works as a pastry chef, is constantly being harrassed by her bosses to take off her veil.”

“My film, like all the ones before it, condemns intolerance," he concludes. "I insist and I stand for it!” 

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