A nominee in the Best First Feature Film and Best Male Newcomer categories at the César Awards earlier this year (France’s equivalent of the Oscars), Stateside distributor Strand Releasing has now set an August 11, 2015 USA theatrical release date for celebrated rapper and spoken word artist, Abd Al Malik’s feature directorial debut, “May Allah Bless France,” which is an adaptation of the filmmaker’s 2004 autobiography, chronicling his upbringing in the crime- and drug-ridden streets of Strasbourg, leading up to his life-changing encounters with hip hop and religion.
A candid account of his early life and artistic awakening that earned him the FIPRESCI Discovery Prize at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, born Régis Fayette-Mikano to Congolese immigrants, Malik grew up in Strasbourg’s housing projects, participating in petty crimes that cost the lives of his friends. He found release in writing and performance, converting to Sufism at age 24, and penning the memoir that informed this film adaptation, which stars Marc Zinga (2015 César Award nominee for Best Male Newcomer) in the role of young Régis.
Shot in black and white, the film (which I’ve yet to see, as it hasn’t yet screened in my neck of the woods) visually and thematically recalls Mathieu Kassovitz’s incendiary 1995 drama “La Haine.”
By the way, Strand also picked up and released, in the USA, another much-buzzed about, César Award nominated French drama that also screened at TIFF last fall – “Girlhood” – earlier this year.
Check out the sharp-looking trailer for “May Allah Bless France” below: