On January 5th 2008, a sit-in organised by a group of unemployed youths in front of the Town Hall of Redeyef, in the South West of Tunisia, marks the beginning of a movement of civil dissent, which lasted six months. Twenty-one years after the ‘medical coup d’état’ which brought him to power; General Ben Ali is confronted with his first popular uprising.
Their names are Moudhaffer, Bechir, Adnene, Leila, Adel or Haroun. They are teachers, unemployed, young people in despair. Some went out on the streets to shout their wrath, others were there to support these young people whose claims they believed to be legitimate.
They all ended up in an unprecedented popular movement in the contemporary history of Tunisia, which was called ‘revolt for dignity’ and gave birth, three years later to the January 14th Tunisian revolution.
It happened in the mining Basin, the land of phosphate where the equation is simple and absurd: the phosphate is produced by a region that experiences all the consequences (ecological and other) without taking advantage of it.
Four years later, what remains of this human adventure? Broken souls, open wounds but also pride and dignity.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
Born on March 9th 1985 in Kairouan, (Tunisia), Sami Tlili is a young Tunisian director. An university lecturer in Sousse, he teaches History of Art, francophone literature and African cinema.
A former active member of the mouvement of the cine-clubs in Tunisian and the Tunisian federation of amateur film-makers (FTCA), he has directed three short films selected and awarded in several international independent festivals.
Cursed be the Phosphate is his first feature documentary.