Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation


The Main 2 Sat, Apr 15, 2023 9:45 PM
The Main 2 Thu, Apr 20, 2023 9:50 PM
The Main 2 Thu, Apr 27, 2023 7:10 PM
Film Info
Premiere Status:Minnesota Premiere
Festival Programs:Images of Africa
Release Year:2022
Runtime:92 min
Print Source:Yellow Veil Pictures
Culture & Society
Human Rights
Social Justice
SWANA Stories
Director:Youssef Chebbi
Producer:Farès Ladjimi
Cinematographer:Hazem Berrabah
Screenwriter:Youssef Chebbi
François-Michel Allegrini
Editor:Valentin Féron
Composer:Thomas Kuratli
Principal Cast:Fatma Oussaifi
Mohamed Houcine Grayaa
Aymen Ben Hmida


An ambitious, haunting attempt to use genre filmmaking to reflect on the recent history of Tunisia, Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation features a tenacious female investigator in a mystery thriller that blends police procedural tropes with disquieting elements of allegorical horror. In the vast urban wasteland of the Gardens of Carthage, a district of Tunis initiated by the former Regime, where construction stopped at the beginning of the Revolution, two cops, Fatma and Batal, find a burnt body in one of the lots. As construction slowly resumes, they start looking into this mysterious case. When further unexplained self-immolations occur, the investigation takes a puzzling turn. The film’s mesmerizing visuals, supremely sinister score and female investigator who must combat misogyny on the job and blatant distrust of the police in the field, make it unlike any recent Tunisian film. The title means “shapes” in Arabic. Winner, Critics’ Prize, Neuchatel Fantastic Festival – Alissa Simon

Director Biography

Youssef Chebbi was born in Tunisia in 1984 and is an acclaimed actor, screenwriter, and director. His short films include “Vers le Nord” (2010) and “The Depths” (2012), as well as co-directing the documentary Babylon (12) and the feature Black Medusa (2021). Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation (2022) is his solo debut feature.