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Review: El Gort

BY CHIBWE AKOMBELWA

Maghrébin du Cinema alum, Hamza Ouni, reveals a personal story of two young men whose lives were turned upside down by the Tunisian revolution. El Gort is Ouni’s first feature documentary, it is a candid portrayal of two young men’s personal commentary during a tumultuous time in their county.

El Gort is the story of two young Tunisian males –Hamadi and Khairi – who are struggling to survive working in the hay stacking industry. Disgruntled with their current working condition, they constantly complainwishing they could escape their reality. All Hamadi and Khairi truly want is a better life and to achieve something greater.However, they are aware that it is impossible considering the current state of their country.They wishis for better, yet are bitterly aware of the fact that they are powerless to change their reality. El Gort tells the story of learning to accept the harsh struggles of life.

Director Hamza Ouni took six years to create this intimate documentary. When the film begins, the poor picture quality is the first thing you notice. Once you realise that El Gort is in fact an Indian doccie chronic linga deeply personal tale, the film quality becomes an aesthetic feature that adds depth to the visual narrative.The film almost seems to lack direction – at some parts the characters say “point the camera at me” – making it clear that the young men are the ones in control of telling their story. Scenes where these young males are captured using close up shots almost invites the audience to be a part their story. Ouni’s film is more than a documentary. He succeeds in creating a visual diary for two young men to share with the world, as both Hamadi and Khairi are unafraid to speak their minds about the state of their country and express their thoughts about the Tunisian revolution.

This film is a treat for scholars and those with a keen interest in politics and current affairs. Those with no particular interest in stories about revolutionsmight even find this documentary boring.This is true example of a film created for a niched audience.

Chibwe Akombelwa is a CCMS honours student. She is an aspiring author/poet/script writer; possibly a future filmmaker. 

The “Student Media Lab” is a training workshop and writing-support mechanism implemented by Professor KeyanTomaselli in order to equip third year and honours students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to report on the Durban International Film Festival. In its third year running the Student Media Lab is facilitated by The Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) students. CCMS is the Southern African region's premier graduate research and educational unit in media studies.