Unfortunately, the legendary actor died before production began, but that didn't stop Behi from going ahead and making the film which would eventually become Always Brando. Of course, as per the film's metafiction style, every last bit of the aforementioned backstory was directly included in the movie itself. While Behi's personal reflections on his encounters with Brando are essential to the film’s overall makeup, it's the fictional story inspired by Anis Raache (the Brando dead ringer) which constitutes the heart and soul of this deeply contemplative work.
Towards the outset of the story, a film crew arrives in Anis' impoverished yet picturesque village to scout out proper shooting locations for an epic movie. Of course, it doesn’t take long before Anis and his rugged, Brando-like looks are discovered by some of the movie's cast and crew members. Before he knows what hit him, the then cafe owner is spiralled into a world of movie star ambition, beckoning fame and fortune, and ruthless false promises.
Seduced and misled by one of the film's actors (a middle-aged American named James - played by Christian Erickson), Anis drifts away from his loyal and ever-loving girlfriend Zina (Zouhir Amara), as well as his two close friends Lamine and Tatay (Lotti Al Abdelli and Soufiene Chaari, respectively), becoming too big for his heart's blind ambitions. Thriving off James' loose vows, Anis is fully confident that he has all the chances in the world of playing Marlon Brando in a Hollywood biopic. All he has to do is master the English language, and he's as good as promised.
Brilliantly woven into this doomed story of impetuous ambition is actual footage of Hollywood films shot in Tunisia (The Thief of Bagdad and Raiders of the Lost Ark for example), Behi's narrated accounts of the mistreatment of Tunisian extras, and real footage of various Marlon Brando films, including Burn! A Streetcar Named Desire, Last Tango in Paris, and On the Waterfront. The scenes of Anis watching and imitating various Brando performances (some of which had the Tunisian Brando in full-out makeup and costume) are arguably the best moments of the film.
There are times though when Always Brando overdoes it with its themes, and moments to be sure when it doesn't all hang together. Still, the enjoyment of watching its creative story unfold on screen, replete with Anis Raache's delicate yet powerful performance, makes it all worthwhile.