#France #Tunisia: An emotional Kaouther Ben Hania used her acceptance speech at the 2024 Lumière Awards in Paris, France, where she was honored for her documentary LES FILLES D’OLFA (FOUR DAUGHTERS), as a platform for empathy and advocacy.
“Cinema, especially documentaries… is an incredible vehicle for empathy,” she said. “And in these troubled times… values of hatred becoming more and more apparent, I want to say that my next films will give voice to those who don’t have one… those whom Frantz Fanon calls the ‘wretched of the earth’, the oppressed… And I take advantage of this platform to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”
Her invoking Frantz Fanon is a powerful alignment. Her declaration to center stories of the “wretched of the earth” and call for an “immediate ceasefire in Gaza” during such a public and international forum positions her within a lineage of artists and filmmakers who utilize their craft to challenge societal injustices and promote global humanitarian causes.
FOUR DAUGHTERS is nominated for an Academy Award in the Documentary Feature category making Ben Hania the second African filmmaker with two Oscar nominations. Her 2020 film THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN was nominated for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.
The other director is French-Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb, nominated for DAYS OF GLORY (2006) and OUTSIDE THE LAW (2010).
Should Ben Hania win for FOUR DAUGHTERS, it would be historic for an African story. One imagines that she will use that platform to be just as expressive as she was at the Lumières.