The spontaneity of inter-human affinities sometimes appears to bear the stamp of destiny and to transcend even the boundary between the world of the living and the dead. Director Ali Marwan Chekki embraces this idea to construct his short film, ‘The Path to Oblivion‘ – a bittersweet contemplation of the human condition and all the seen and unseen nuances that bind the members of a family. The pretext of a seemingly chance meeting between the central characters is transformed into a poetic meditation on fragility and devotion, transcending the boundaries of the tangible world. In a way, the vibration emanating from this short film reminds us of Abbas Kiarostami’s aesthetics and his everyday “odysseys” consumed in the intimacy of the protagonists, in those unnoticeable changes that completely overturn the whole perception of the universe and seem to be touched by a certain mystical sensibility. Indeed, in the case of Chekki’s project, magical realism has a special place, but it appears more as a natural consequence of the collision between the visible world and the world beyond our senses than an aim per se. In fact, the director’s primary concern is with the social architecture of a peripheral community, illustrating the protagonist’s constant need to be connected to the dear departed who have influenced his destiny, as a form of survival. Spirituality, the belief in what lies beyond, becomes a way of life, a routine, but also a means of emotional hygiene that implicitly ensures the character’s existential mechanism.


When an old woman wandering the streets of the city asks Iassad to find her daughter, little does the man know that he is about to embark on an intense journey. At the end of this journey, he will discover the importance of love that transcends even the most implacable boundaries. With overflowing sensitivity and fine irony, Ali Marwan Chekki possesses the rare quality of constructing characters that exude endearing humanity with minimal resources. His short film succeeds in synthesizing an entire social and spiritual universe with enviable precision while delivering a parable of beauty at a tempered and well-calculated pace. This unfolds right amid a society haunted by the specter of violence and thoughtlessness.


‘The Path to Oblivion’ impresses with its diaphanous, haunting atmosphere, akin to the discreet, fragile light of a candle guiding you along a dark path out of the prison of an unjust world. For its sensitivity, poeticism, and technical precision in rendering a slice of pure beauty, ‘The Path to Oblivion’ was awarded the Film of the Month distinction in the December 2023 edition of TMFF.