The Last Queen
Spring Grants 2018 - Production Stage
Algeria, 1516. Aruj Barbarossa, one of the most notorious pirates in history, frees Algiers from the tyranny of the Spanish and seizes power over the kingdom. But rumour has it he murdered the King Salim Toumi, despite their seeming alliance. After his ascension to power, Barbarossa quickly proposes marriage to the slain king’s beautiful wife—Queen Zaphira. Strong-willed and resolute, she breaks with tradition and chooses her own destiny, fighting for her autonomy, her beloved son and her nation. Between history and legend, this woman’s journey tells of a struggle, of personal and political turmoil endured for the sake of Algiers.
Led by exceptional female performances, Algeria’s first costume drama, ‘The Last Queen,’ is a fascinating historical drama—although Zaphira’s actual existence and exact role is still a hotly contested topic amongst Algerian historians to this day. Regardless, its story is Shakespearean in scale and intrigue, exploring a crucial period in time for the North African nation that has never been done before in film. Between its impressive action scenes and well-choreographed battles lies a very human story of political intrigue, betrayals and power that paints a rich portrait of a now-legendary female figure.
- Damien Ounouri
- Damien Ounouri, Adila Bendimerad
- Adila Bendimerad
- Production Company
- Taj Intaj
About the Director
Damien Ounouri is an Algerian director based in Algiers. He studied cinema theory, developing its practical application as a self-taught skill. His documentary ‘Fidai’ (2012), co-produced by the Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke, had its premiere at the Toronto TIFF and was shown in cinemas throughout France. His medium-length film ‘Kindil El Bahr’ (2016) had its premiere at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and was broadcast on ARTE. He also directs video-clips and commercials, teaches at cinematographic workshops, and is Associate Producer for Taj Intaj (Algeria). ‘The Last Queen’ is his first full-length feature film.
Adila Bendimerad is an Algerian actress, scriptwriter, director and producer, based in Algiers. In 2011, the actress (‘The Repentant’, ‘The Rooftops’, ‘Normal’ by Merzak Allouache, ‘Still Burning’ by Georges Hachem) created the company Taj Intaj in Algiers to promote young Algerian talent. Her production of ‘The Days Before’ (2013) by Karim Moussaoui received worldwide acclaim, from Locarno Festival to her nomination for a César. ‘Kindil El Bahr’ (2016) by Damien Ounouri was selected for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. In co-production with Agat Films / Ex Nihilo (France), she produced ‘The Last Queen’, which she co-wrote and co-directed with Ounouri and in which she also takes on the lead role as Queen Zaphira.