Actor Ahmed Benaissa, a cultural “monument” in Algeria, died suddenly in Cannes

Actor and director Ahmed Benaissa, considered a great figure in Algerian theater and cinema, who starred in the film Drop of gold presented in Cannes, died at the age of 78, announced the Algerian Ministry of Culture.

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, The blood of wolves, From Hollywood to Tamanrasset or Outlaw.

In a message to the family of the deceased posted Friday on Facebook, the Minister of Culture and Arts, Soraya Mouloudji, regretted the loss of a “monument” of the Algerian culture which will leave “an indelible imprint on the world of Algerian cinema and theatre”.

“Devastated by uneasiness”he died Friday in Cannes, before the screening of the film Drop of gold by Clément Cogitore, as part of Critics’ Week. The actor will be repatriated and buried in Algeria, according to his son, indicated the official Algerian agency APS.

Algerian writer Kamel Daoud paid tribute to him on Twitter: “a beautiful soul, a great actor, a man without hatred and immense talent”pointing out that Ahmed Benaissa participated in the “shooting of the film ‘Meursault contre Enquête’ (inspired by the eponymous novel by Kamel 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 (west). 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 also appeared very regularly in productions for Algerian and French television.

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