“Ibrahim”, the long road to redemption between a father and his son


Samir Guesmi’s first feature film as a director. Excellent actor, in the theater, on television, in the cinema. Excellent supporting role. A mouth. A style. A way of being, which imposes itself beyond the diversity of films from one role to another. Slender, cheeky, lunar. Something like elegant flippancy. We have seen it for thirty years in a number of very good films (with Claude Miller, Noémie Lvovsky, Arnaud Desplechin, Bruno Podalydès…). Andalucia (2008), Alain Gomis, a magnificent and little-known work on a man in search of his identity, gives him a leading role. He shows himself royal there. Then resumes, as if nothing had happened, his life as an actor of the half-light.

Read the interview: Samir Guesmi: “My father dedicated his life to me”

Passing this time on the other side of the sunlights, in the fertile shadow of the creator of the universe, Samir Guesmi did not go to look for noon to two o’clock to draw his inspiration. Ibrahim, dedicated to his father, marks on the one hand the very personal imprint left on his film, and on the other hand obviously resuscitates the social and romantic brutality of Italian neorealism. As in the mythical Bicycle thief (1948) by Vittorio De Sica, a trivial object, which has become as precious as life for the penniless protagonist who owns it or loses it, acquires in it a symbolic, mediating and transactional value of the first magnitude.

Guesmi stars in his film. He embodies there, as he knows how to do to perfection, a character who, without being exposed in full light, takes it admirably. Ahmed, illiterate, is tortoise at the Royal Opera brewery. In the absence of a woman at home, he holds near his son Ibrahim (Abdel Bendaher), a teenager, a figure of an exhausted and taciturn father, who seems to carry on his shoulders the weight of a painful story. , but that one feels straight as an i and vigilant on the fate of his son. His dream would be to integrate the room as a server. He seems to want to buy a dental prosthesis, a way to make himself more presentable. Ahmed saved hard to raise the right amount.

But this is counting without the very heavy weight that this unspoken story weighs on his son’s shoulders, woven, one imagines, with the threads of a tragedy both personal (the absent woman) and collective (l ‘immigration). A loving father, moreover, but so hard against evil, so modest, so demanding both of himself and of his son that life at his side is like the priesthood. That Ibrahim, who has learned over time the art of not saying too much, who has learned to complete writing acts at home without his father thinking of thanking him, secretly dreams of something else thing, of a life perhaps easier, of suffering finally kept at a distance, of lighter and more exhilarating sensations.

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