Habib Masrouki par Ghada Selten is an investigation of the mysterious suicide of Habib Masrouki at 33, a Tunisian film director who crystallized hopes of a whole generation of young students and professionals of cinema in the 1980s. The peculiarity of this book is that the investigation is made by Habib Masrouki’s niece, Ghada Selten, who explores as much the impact of her uncle’s suicide on her own family as the political context of the time: between fiction and documentary, this book is a socio-political dive into 1970s to 1980s Tunisia seen through the lens of cinema, where archival resources and interviews interlace.
Published by ESAAA éditions, Annecy’s Fine Arts School’s publishing house, the design was made by in-house graphic designer Camille Garnier, who used two typefaces from Production Type to set the entire book: Mars Extended and Kessler. The books keeps an overall sobriety to present a difficult subject, raising sadness in private lives, while intertwined with political aspects of Tunisia at the time. This restraint from a more exuberant design is also a means to put in light the archival resources collected by Ghada Selten: the black-and-white design highlights immediately the material aspects of photographs and newspapers extracts, bringing them closer to the reader. Mars Extended brings us back to the 70s and sometimes echoes historical illustrations; its sans-serif characteristics also provide a light administrative aspect which can be played upon on the setting of interviews and to keep the idea of an official record. On the other hand, Kessler is much more sensible, and counterbalances the formalities evoked by Mars Extended: on the contrary, it supports an officious and intimate discourse about the person lost.