SHEHERAZADE  Words against Death poster
95 min 2011 Docu-fiction

SHEHERAZADE  Words against Death

"Scheherazade is a princess who told a story every night to her husband the Sultan, promising him to finish it the next night and thus saved her head. The Sultan, having been deceived once by a wife, decided never ever to be deceived again by the coming ones. So he took the decision to execute each and every one of them the day after the wedding night. These stories, which are nested within each other, come from India or Persia but were put together and peddled by Arab merchants, and ended by constituting the corpus of the Arabian Nights, or the « One Thousand and One Nights ». They have survived the centuries , were passed over orally through generations of storytellers, and are now, not only in the Arab culture, but also in the Universal one. It was logical, though difficult, that director Nacer Khemir films the storyteller Nacer Khemir. A stage plunged into darkness, lit almost entirely by a multitude of small candles, the storyteller just sitting on a chair. The magic of words can then deploy and bewitch the living theater in Tunis - the cinema too. This may not seem much, but the charm is there. One listens to the stories and does not want them ever to end ! Some sequences illustrate the stories, filmed with care and harmony, but the lead is always for the speech, so that ones ability to listen is not distracted. This device, apparently modest, is in fact of an extraordinary richness and especially emphasizes the oral nature of all these stories, where « words against death », has a dual meaning : Scheherazade uses the words to continue to exist, and Nacer Khemir uses the words to allow the « One thousand and One Night » to continue to live." Martial Knaebel


Direction and Production

Nacer Khemir
Nacer Khemir

Nacer Khemir

Through cinema, painting and sculpture, not to mention calligraphy, writing and story telling, Nacer Khemir has thrown bridges between shores, North and South, Occident ...

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