Akher Wahed Fina [The Last of Us] (2016)

Akher Wahed Fina
Director: Ala Eddine Slim
Writer: Ala Eddine Slim
Cast: Jahwar Soudani, Fethi Akkari, Jihed Fourti
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 26.10.2019

N (Jahwar Soudani) is making his way from the desert in Africa towards the continent’s North, hoping to cross over inte Europe. But things don’t work the way he planned. In a desperate attempt, he steals a boat in Tunisia, hoping to make the crossing on his own. Instead he ends up shipwrecked – which is just the start of a very strange journey for him indeed.

The film poster showing a drawing of a forest in black and white.

Akher Wahed Fina was shown together with L’automne, and on the surface, the two films share many similarities, both telling the story of trying to leave Africa behind to reach a better life in Europe. And both films make do without any dialogue. Dou don’t really miss it, either, especially not in Akher Wahed Fina where they do some really interesting things with the sound anyway.

But if you look at both films more closely, they are very different, especially in the second half where Akher Wahed Fina takes a dive into the fantastic. I was a little surprised by just how fantastic films got here (in the sense of surreal and otherworldy, not in the sense of excellent), but I didn’t mind this in the slightest.

N (Jahwar Soudani) at the beach with a backpack.

The first part, before the deviation into the fantastic, may have been a tad too long, but that impression may have had more to do with my general tiredness than with the film itself. I certainly didn’t mind watching Soudani at work the entire time – he was great, especially considering that it was his first time acting.

Overall, I was very taken with the film (as with the short film before it), making me regret that I can’t make it to the other film of the director that the Viennale showed in tribute to his work. But hopefully I’ll get another chance to watch them at some point.

N (Jahwar Soudani) in a disheveled state, looking straight at the camera.

Summarizing: excellent.

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