The Unknown Saint

by Alaa Eddine Aljem

The Unknown Saint


Amine steals a big bag of money and escapes into the hills with the police hot on his trail. Before he is arrested, he digs a grave to bury the cash and disguises it as a modest tomb.

Years later, Amine is released from prison and sets off to find his money. In the mean time, a religious shrine has been built directly over the place he buried his cash. The mausoleum honors an unknown saint from the region whose tomb was recently discovered.

Down the hill from the resting place of the "The Unkown Saint", a new village subsists on the pilgrims who travel from far and wide to visit the mausoleum. Amine settles into the village and begins plotting a way in. But with the loot now hidden in a holy place, retrieving it suddenly becomes much more complicated.


Trained at ESAV Marrakech and INSAS in Brussels, Alaa Eddine Aljem directed several short films, among them ‘The Desert Fish’ (2015), which gained great acclaim in the film festival circuit and took the Critics, Screenwriting and Grand Prize at the Moroccan National Film Festival. ‘The Unknown Saint’ is Aljem’s debut feature. With this project, Aljem participated in the Open Doors Lab at the Locarno Festival, where it won the ICAM award. Aljem also took part in La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde in Cannes in 2016, and in the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab. In 2016, Alaa was named by ‘Screen International’ as one the Five Arab Stars of Tomorrow.


2019 – The Unkown Saint (debut feature)2015 – The Desert Fish (short)
2011 – Tribute (short)
2009 – National Education (short)
2008 – The Ritual (short)


Younes Bouab
Anas El Baz
Hassan Badida
Abdelghani Kitab
Salah Bensalah
Bouchaib Semmak
Mohamed Nouaimane


Screenplay & direction: Alaa Eddine Aljem
Cinematography: Amine Berrada
Editing: Lilian Corbeille
Sound: Yassine Bellouquid, Paul Jousselin, Matthieu Deniau
Music: Amine Bouhafa
Production designer: Kaoutar Haddioui
Producers: Francesca Duca, Alexa Rivero
Produced by: Le Moindre Geste Productions (Ma), Altamar Films (Fr)
With the support of: CCM, CNC-Institut Français, OIF, DFI
In association with: The Match Factory, Schortcut, Chadwell International Ltd, Condor Distribution

Technical Data

format DCP / colour / 1.85:1 / 5.1
length 100 min.
original languages Darija (Moroccan Arabic)

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