The Unknown Saint
Le Miracle du Saint Inconnu
Alaa Eddine Aljem’s darkly comic feature debut is smart, refreshing, original and an astute reflection on the human need to believe in something.
Dir-Scr Alaa Eddine Aljem
Prod Francesca Duca, Alexa Rivero
With Younes Bouab, Anas El Baz, Hassan Badida
Sales The Match Factory
With English subtitles
Returning to the site of a treasure he buried when escaping the police, a recently released bandit is surprised to find a new shrine – that of the ‘Unknown Saint’. Now surrounded by a bustling village, the shrine is much visited and assiduously guarded by a wonderful array of locals, whom director Aljem characterises with a rich blend of subtle observation and deadpan humour: the guard dog revered to the point of being guarded himself; the new doctor and his veteran – but alcoholic – nurse and the dentist/barber who reserves his best shaving foam for exclusive clients. Meanwhile, struggling to find ways to unearth his loot, the thief – superbly played by a brooding Younes Bouab – is forced to call in a favour from ‘Ahmed the Brain’, his ironically named prison cellmate.