Ahmed Benaïssa was considered an essential figure in cinema, but also in Algerian theatre. The actor and director was also on the bill for “Goutte d’Or”, an urban and mysterious thriller by Clément Cogitore. The 78-year-old comedian lost his life before the film was screened at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
“Monument of Algerian Culture”
Ahmed Benaissa’s family announced the sad news on social media on May 20, 2022. Soraya Mouloudji, Algeria’s new Minister of Culture paid tribute to him, calling him a “monument” of Algerian culture. According to her, Ahmed Benaissa will leave “an indelible imprint on the world of Algerian cinema and theater”.
The illustrious Algerian writer Kamel Daoud also spoke about the disappearance of his compatriot on Twitter, regretting the disappearance of “a beautiful soul, a great actor, a man without hatred and immense talent”. He also recalled that the deceased had taken part in the filming of “Meursault against investigation”, a feature film based on his eponymous novel.
A major figure in Algerian theatre, television and cinema, the actor #AhmedBenaissa died Friday, May 20, in Cannes, a few hours before the presentation at the festival of “Goutte d’or”, a film in which he is showing | By Safia Ayache https://t.co/rWryBzlJDV
– The World Africa (@LeMonde_Afrique) May 24, 2022
A busy career
Born on March 2, 1944 in Algiers, Ahmed Benaïssa began his artistic career in 1971. During his 50-year career, the actor appeared in more than 120 films. He made himself known on the international scene through nuggets such as “Papicha”, “Le sang des loups”, “De Hollywood à Tamanrasset” or “Outlaw”.
Without warning, mourning suddenly set in under the beautiful spring sun of the Croisette. The festivities were therefore naturally put on hold. The Algerian actor and director breathed his last at the age of 78 at Cannes 2022 on Friday May 20.
He had been ill for several years. Ahmed Benaïssa was “Lightned by unease” the day before the screening of his latest film “Goutte d’Or” directed by Clément Cogitore. The event was scheduled during Critics’ Week.
According to information collected by the official Algerian agency APS from his son, the deceased will be repatriated and buried in his native land. Algeria mourns the loss of a “monument” of its theater and cinema.
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 or Rachid Bouchareb https://t.co/hiI6VjSgfU pic.twitter.com/zkqktxT3KO
— Middle East Eye Fr (@MiddleEastEyeFr) May 23, 2022
The world of the 7th art pays tribute to him
Like the environment in which she evolves, Leïla Bekhti, is deeply affected by the disappearance of Ahmed Benaïssa. Leïla Bekhti is an actress who has met with success with the general public thanks to her exemplary performance in “All that glitters”.
The film was such a success that the mother of three was rewarded with a César for best female hope. The disappearance of the Algerian actor was a shock for many people working in the seventh art. This is the case of the companion of Tahar Rahim.
French actor Karim Leklou also paid tribute to the deceased by sending a message on his Instagram account.
“We have learned of the sudden death of actor Ahmed Benaissa. All our heartfelt thoughts go out to his family and loved ones. The screening of Goutte d’or tonight is dedicated to him, ”wrote the 39-year-old actor present at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
This message was shared by Leïla Bekhti via an Instagram story. Clément Cogitoire, the director of the film “Goutte d’or”, was one of the first to share his sadness at the disappearance of this Algerian legend. He expressed his pain by sending a message relayed by AlloCiné.
“I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Ahmed Benaissa. The film would not exist without him and words cannot express our sorrow,” the filmmaker said.
The APS site (Algeria press service) also sent its thoughts to the actor:
“With a ‘mouth’ cut out for movie screens and a voice that makes the theaters vibrate from the orchestra to the last balcony, he devoted 50 years of his life, and even his very last days, to the screen and to the boards that can contain his immense talent and his visceral need to express his art, Ahmed Benaissa, another pillar of Algerian culture bowed out on Friday. »