Sadness suddenly came to Cannes, putting the film festival on hold. Algeria has indeed lost a “monument” of its theater and cinema. Actor Ahmed Benaïssa, starring in the film Drop of gold presented at the Festival, has indeed died at the age of 78, announced the Algerian Ministry of Culture.
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, Blood of Wolves, From Hollywood to Tamanrasset Where Outlaw. In a message to the family of the deceased published Friday on Facebook, the Minister of Culture and the Arts, Soraya Mouloudji, regretted the loss of the actor who will leave “an indelible imprint in the world of Algerian cinema and theater”.
Kamel Daoud’s tribute
Ahmed Benaïssa died Friday in Cannes, before the screening of the film Drop of gold by Clément Cogitore, 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.
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 Benaïssa participated in the “shooting of the film Meursault against investigation (inspired by the eponymous novel by Kamel Daoud) for one of the two main roles”.
Many roles in the theater
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. Actor recognized for his exceptional talent, he had led many projects on the stage of the theater in Algiers and Oran.
In 1995, he also directed the regional theater of Sidi Bel Abbes, not far from Oran, during the very difficult period of the dark decade, the civil war that the country suffered between 1992 and 2002. The actor appeared very regularly also in productions for Algerian and French television.