A great figure in Algerian theater and cinema has passed away. Actor and director Ahmed Benaissa has died at the age of 78, the Algerian culture ministry has announced. 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 a “monument” of Algerian culture which will leave “an indelible imprint in the world of cinema and Algerian theatre”.
Died in the middle of a festival
Ahmed Benaïssa died Friday in Cannes, before the screening of the film Drop of gold of Clément Cogitore, in which he plays. “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 Benaissa participated in the “shooting of the film Meursault against investigation (inspired by the eponymous novel by M. Daoud, editor’s note) for one of the two main roles”.
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.
Ahmed Benaissa had also directed in 1995 the regional theater of Sidi Bel Abbes, not far from Oran, during the very difficult period of the black decade, the civil war which the country suffered between 1992 and 2002. The actor appeared very also regularly in productions for Algerian and French television.