Nefta Football Club: A unique story with an unexpected twist

You might know him from his wonderful short film “Tempus fugit” that was released in 2001 but now writer/director Yves Piat is back with an even more delightful short movie. In his “Nefta Football Club”, he combines humour with darkness, playfulness with dangerous situations and the love-hate relationship between young brothers. The result? A wonderful, charming and unique short film.

Life seems to be fine for the young brothers Abdallah (Mohamed Ali Ayari) and Mohammed (Eltayef Dhaoui) who are living in a small Tunisian village. They might not have any luxury but at least they have each other and their friends with whom they play street football. However, their life is about to change when Abdallah encounters a wandering donkey with headphones on. It seems that the animal has been carrying some heavy bags full of white powder with him. The brothers decide to take those bags home, a decision that might have unexpected consequences.

To us, the nature of the white power might be abundantly clear, but the spoilers in this film are left until the last moment where the consequences come to fruition. Director Piat decided to give a unique twist to the storyline which makes this one-of-a-kind, charming and playful story even more intriguing. There’s even a place for witty and humorist moments.

Cinematographer Valentin Vignet (“Keny Arkana: Madame la Marquise”, “Faces Places”) leaves all of the frills and humour to the script, with bare realist shots that make you feel as if you’re with the children every step along the way. There is no need for unnecessary camera movements or shots as the relaxed and playful vibe carries the short through its enchanting narrative, with a  very human touch. Abrupt camera movements only occur when the young boys are playing a heated football match.

The costumes provided by Cyrine Assila (“Another Life”) and Olfa Kriaa give that everyday life vibe to “Nefta Football Club” as well. They aren’t too fancy or too “out-of-this-world”. They’re just the ordinary kids wearing what young boys wear. What makes this short so special is the wonderful performances of the young upcoming cast. Ali Ayari, who makes his acting debut in this movie, shows us his touching and charming performance while debutant Dhaoui gives us a rough and darker show. The chemistry between them is very beautifully created and for both boys is this movie a fine debut. Last but not least, the sound also contributes to the right atmosphere for this film. There’s no external music, the only sounds come from the cheering children, the bouncing football and the natural elements from Tunisia.

After being screened at festivals such as the Chicago International Film Festival, Villeurbanne Short Film Festival, and Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the movie is now aiming for even bigger accomplishments. Achievements that would be incredibly well-deserved. Not only because of the life-like elements such as the cinematography, performances, costumes, and sound but also because of the unique, beautiful and clever story.

Lisolette

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