Monday, April 3, 2023

Ashkal (2022) NDNF 2023


ASHKAL is one of the moodiest suspenseful films I’ve seen in a while. Set in and around a part of Tunis that was set to be a thriving new part of the city, construction stopped when the revolution came. As things begin to shift toward work starting again the body of someone burned alive is found in the abandoned area.  Police seem to think it’s suicide until more bodies are found.

I find it hard to discuss ASHKAL because as good as the vast majority of this film is, and it is stunning filmmaking, how I react, and how you react should you see it, hinges on the final minutes of the film. You are either going to accept the ending or shake your head and walk away. Personally, I’m not a fan. Yes the filmmaking results in a spectacular sequence but I’m not sure if it works in context.

And sadly, because I don’t dare give anything away, I can’t say anything more.

While I have reservations, I still recommend ASHKAL, especially to the long-time readers of Unseen who want to see films that do something different, wondrous and magical even if they don’t stick the landing.

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