T. fr.: L’Odyssée d’une jeune française en Tunisie. Scen.: Haydée Samama Chikly. F., Prod.: Albert Samama Chikly. Int.: Haydée Samama Chikly (Zohra) · 35mm. L.: 189 m (frammento, l. orig.: 1400 m). D.: 10’ a 16 f/s. Col.
Zohra or L’Odyssée d’une jeune française en Tunisie was first screened on December 21, 1922, at the Nunez Cinema in Tunis. Zohra is the first African movie and is directed by Albert Samama Chikly with his daughter Haydée as protagonist and screenwriter. Being a dreamer, she decided to entitle the story Zohra, which in Arabic means ‘star of happiness’, the name given to the Venus planet. The story of Zohra is well-written with a light plot. It is about a young French girl, who survives a ship-wreckage on the north African coast of Tunisia and is rescued by a Bedouin peasant family whose daily life, under the roof of their tents, unrolls before her eyes, as well as ours. They shear the sheep, make cous-cous, collect water and wood until an airplane lands nearby to pick up the girl and take her back home.
Zohra is also a narrative film based on the first screenplay written by an African woman, Haydée Chikly, and interpreted by professional actors, who are counterpoised by a documentary part based on observations and photographic recordings of the life of a Bedouin village.
Today, only ten minutes still exist of the film, which originally lasted more than one hour.