Int.: Nathalie Kovanko (Lei), Nicolas Rimsky (Lui), Nicolas Koline (Colon), Albert Samama Chikli (guida). DCP. D.: 31’. Col. (from a tinted nitrate print).

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In 2019, in order to make a comparison with a diacetate print of a Gabès documentary shot by René Moreau, La Cinémathèque française collaborator Mehdi Taïbi viewed a nitrate print also labelled Gabès. Taïbi recognised Ermolieff actress Nathalie Kovanko and the roman amphitheatre of El Djem, and made the connection to Les Contes des Milles et une nuits, partially shot on location “using the Maghreb to illustrate the Orient”, in his words. On the recommendation of Émilie Cauquy I viewed this nitrate print when trying to find clues about the participation of Samama in Les Contes des Milles et une nuits. And there I found him.
What might have been the purpose of this short fiction film? Was it ever released? Or rather shot by the Ermolieff cast and crew as an elaborate private souvenir of their stay in Tunisia? It is marvellous to see Albert Samama acting, and devastating how in this innocent little film, his destiny in the context of the 1920s is laid bare, involuntarily. Tunisia is reduced to serve as location for international productions and the Tunisian filmmaker relegated to the role of a servant.

Mariann Lewinsky

Copy From

Digitized in 2023 by La Cinémathèque française at the laboratory of CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée.