Jawher Soudani (aka VaJo) in ‘The Last of Us’
Jawher Soudani (aka VaJo) in ‘The Last of Us’

Set to make its North American Premiere at the 2017 New Directors/New Films festival (in NYC) which kicks off next week, is Tunisian filmmaker Ala Eddine Slim’s feature film debut, “The Last of Us,” which follows a Sub-Saharan (a country name isn’t given) African man’s treacherous journey to reach Europe – one that countless others seeking refuge have made, some successfully; others not.

The timely film’s protagonist (played by multidisciplinary Tunisian artist Jawher Soudani, better known as VaJo), who is silent throughout the film, crosses the desert to North Africa, intending to obtain illegal passage to Europe. After he is robbed, he finds himself alone in Tunisia. Eventually, he decides to make the sea crossing on his own; he steals a boat and sets off, but the boat shuts down in open water. From that moment on, he experiences his crossing in a unique way, as he is confronted by the forces of nature, and by his own humanity.

Produced by Mohammed Ismail Louati, “The Last of Us” made its world premiere at Venice’s International Film Critics’ Week during the Venice Film Festival last fall, as one of the seven first features in competition. It will make its Stateside premiere at the 2017 New Directors/New Films festival (ND/NF) which runs from March 15 to 26.

Born in 1982, director Ala Eddine Slim graduated from Tunisia’s Higher Institute of Multimedia Arts of Manouba. His thesis film, “The Night of the Dreamers,” won an award at the National Amateur Film Festival of Kélibia in 2004. In 2005, he co-founded Exit Productions, which produced his first professional short film, “The Fall,” in 2007. The film was selected for several international festivals, and was broadcast on two European television channels. In 2008, as part of a summer internship at La Fémis, he directed the short documentary “One Night Among the Others.”

“The Last of Us” is his feature directorial debut. For ticket info for its ND/NF premiere click here.

Check out a trailer for the “mysterious, entrancing” dialogue-free drama below: