CINEMA – It is the disappearance of a “monument”. Actor and director Ahmed Benaissa, considered a great figure in Algerian theater and cinema, and who starred in the film “Goutte d’Or” presented at the Cannes festival this week, died at the age of 78, the Algerian Ministry of Culture announced on Friday (May 20th).
During a 50-year career, which began in 1971, he had played in more than 120 films, including Algerian productions noticed internationally such as “Papicha”, “Le sang des loups”, “De Hollywood à Tamanrasset” or “Outlaw”.
In a message to the family of the deceased posted Friday on Facebook, the Minister of Culture and the Arts, Soraya Mouloudji, regretted the loss of a “monument” of Algerian culture which will leave “an indelible imprint on the world of cinema and Algerian theatre”.
Ahmed Benaissa died this Friday in Cannes, before the screening of Clément Cogitore’s film “Goutte d’or”, as part of Critics’ Week. “Devastated by a malaise”, he will be repatriated and buried in Algeria, according to his son, indicated the official Algerian agency APS.
“Beautiful soul”, “great actor”, “father of cinema”
In Cannes, the French actor Karim Leklou, who shared with Ahmed Benaissa the poster of “Goutte d’Or” had a moving word for the disappeared during the screening of the film, saluting his “cinema father”.
The famous Algerian writer Kamel Daoud paid him a strong tribute on Twitter: “A beautiful soul, a great actor, a man without hatred and immense talent”, stressing that Ahmed Benaissa participated in the “shooting of the film ‘Meursault contre- investigation’ (based on the eponymous novel by Kamel Daoud, editor’s note) for one of the two main roles”.
Born in 1944 in Algiers, Ahmed Benaïssa had one of the richest careers in Algerian theater and cinema, collaborating with many directors such as Merzak Allouache and Rachid Bouchareb.
An actor recognized for his exceptional talent, he had carried out numerous projects on the stage of the theater in Algiers and Oran, in the west of the country.
Ahmed Benaissa had also directed in 1995 the regional theater of Sidi Bel Abbes, not far from Oran, during the very difficult period of the black decade, the civil war which the country suffered between 1992 and 2002. The actor appeared very also regularly in productions for Algerian and French television.
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