By Will Barber Taylor
In a Tunisian village, children are playing football on a wasteland. Meanwhile, Abdallah (Mohamed Ali Ayari) and Mohammed (Eltayef Dhaoui) come across a donkey with headphones on his ears and bags full of a white powder on his back. The two young brothers decide to take those bags back to their village.
Comedy is often a difficult genre to work in – there are many times when it can go wrong or it can not have the intended effect that it should have. However, when it goes right it is a medicine that many of us turn to. To be able to do a comedy about drug smuggling in Tunisia and to make it not only exceptionally funny and endearing seems like an insurmountable task. Yet Yvies Piat has achieved it in his film the Nefta Football Club.
Set in Tunisia it sees two brothers, Abdallah and Mohammed discovery a donkey that is loaded with drugs. The ensuing search for the drugs by the donkey’s owner and the boys attempts to find a use for them are fertile ground for comedy and one Piat utilises perfectly. The cast, all of whom are excellent actors, put real energy into the script and ensure that the full comedic potential of the situation is exploited. Particularly impressive as the main characters are Eltayef Dhaoui and Mohamed Ali Ayari both of whom understand how to make their interactions seem natural and brotherly.
Nefta Football Club is an amusing film and one that is sure to stay with viewers who watch it for a long time to come. It appreciates how to take a malevolent subject matter and make it amusing and applicable to a Western audience. I would recommend watching it if you can as it is a truly impressive artistic creation.