Tunisian film nabs two awards at Venice Film Festival 

Syrian actor Yahya Mahyani plays the lead character, Sam Ali. (Venice Film Festival)
Short Url
Updated 15 September 2020

Tunisian film nabs two awards at Venice Film Festival 

DUBAI: Tunisian film “The Man Who Sold His Skin” won two awards at the Venice International Film Festival this week. 

Directed and written by Tunisian filmmaker and screenwriter Kaouther Ben Hania, the movie scored the Edipo Re Award, which is one of the festival’s collateral prizes, while its Syrian actor Yahya Mahyani was awarded the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor for his leading role in the film. 

Mahyani plays the role of Sam Ali, a young, sensitive and impulsive Syrian, who left his country for Lebanon to escape the war.

To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, Ali accepts to have his back tattooed by one of the world’s most contentious contemporary artists. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam will, however, come to realize that his decision might actually mean anything but freedom.

The festival is one of the first major film events to take place physically since the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe.

The Cannes Film Festival was canceled and other major international festivals in Toronto and New York opted to go mostly online.

But after Italy managed to tame its infections with a strict 10-week lockdown, Venice decided to go ahead, albeit under safety protocols that would have previously been unthinkable for a festival that has prided itself on spectacular visuals and glamorous stars.


Newcomer Iman Vellani cast as Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel in new Disney+ series

Updated 01 October 2020

Newcomer Iman Vellani cast as Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel in new Disney+ series

DUBAI: After an extensive search, Marvel has finally found its Ms. Marvel. The studio has cast Canadian newcomer Iman Vellani to star in its forthcoming Disney+ series based on the comic-book character.

The live-action TV series on Disney+, which was announced last month, is currently slated for a 2021 release. 

Not much is yet known about the young actress, however Vellani was part of the Next Wave Committee at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival which was tasked with adding a special tag to films that would resonate with their peers.

Ms. Marvel is the alter-ego of Kamala Khan, a daughter of Pakistani immigrants, who hail from New Jersey. She adopts the alter-ego Ms. Marvel in honor of Captain Marvel, who is portrayed by US actress Brie Larson. She is Marvel’s first Muslim superhero.

Ms. Marvel was created by G. Willow Wilson, who is also a Muslim woman. Supplied

Her creator, G. Willow Wilson, is also a Muslim woman, ensuring that fans get an accurate portrayal of what it means to be a Muslim female in America.

Making her comic book series debut in 2014, Ms. Marvel’s story arc revolves around coming of age, dealing with society, her culture, parents, and maintaining her Muslim identity, all while balancing her shape-shifting super powers. 

Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president, first teased the character’s appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a 2018 interview with BBC, revealing that in addition to the small screen, the character will be included in future Marvel films.

 “Ms. Marvel, which is another character in the comic books, the Muslim hero who is inspired by Captain Marvel, is definitely sort of in the works. We have plans for that once we’ve introduced Captain Marvel to the world,” he told the publication.

Ms. Marvel joins other mainstream Muslim superheros, including DC Comics’ The Green Lantern (Lebanese-American) and Nightrunner (Algerian-French).