KHTOBTOGONE a film by SARA SADIK. 2021, France, 16 min. A love story set in Grand Theft Auto V explores masculinity in Maghrebi Marseille.

This film screened exclusively for a week and is currently not available online.

Often set in semi-futuristic worlds, Sara Sadik’s video art explores the “social mythologies” of French youth. Her newest short, the FIDMarseille standout Khtobtogone, is no exception: a character study animated entirely within the Grand Theft Auto V video game.


Khtobtogone begins as a love story between protagonist Zine and the girl of his dreams, Bulma. But in introspective narration, Zine reflects more broadly on masculinity and coming of age in Marseille’s Maghrebi community. Inspired by the experiences of her male friends from southern France, Sadik collaged transcripts of their stories into Zine’s internal monologue. “I always start from a very real, documentary material that I transform into fictions in other physical and temporal spaces,” Sadik explained.




“It’s really important for me to create some kind of a safe space for people to feel confident enough to tell about their stories, their emotions, their torments, everything that we don’t allow them to talk about usually.” SARA SADIK


Sadik complements Zine’s poetic voiceover with custom modifications of GTA’s graphics, which add specific cultural references and deepen his interior world. “CGI can be very cold and emotionless, so it was a challenge for me to think of ways to preserve all the emotions the character goes through,” Sadik added. When Zine goes swimming with a group of friends, Sadik uses slow-motion and close-ups to create a moment of surprising tenderness—meanwhile, Zine worries about abandoning his friends as his relationship becomes more serious. In these striking scenes, Sadik coaxes a refreshing vulnerability from a game designed to highlight idealized, heteronormative masculinity.


After graduating with honors from Bordeaux’s Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 2018, Sadik’s art has been shown in group exhibitions at Nir Altman in Munich, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Sadie Coles HQ in London, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, among other venues. From March to June 2021, she was resident artist at LUMA Arles; through collaborative projects with local teenagers, she deconstructed media portrayals of marginalized youth. A highlight of her earlier work is the 2020 experimental reality show Carnalito Full Option, the second component of her four-part project Hlel Academy. Her gallery of past pieces is available to browse alongside her CV, and she is on Instagram @sarasadikofficiel. She is based in Marseille.


Text written by Chloe Lizotte.

Credits for
Idir Azougli
written by
Sara Sadik
based on stories of
Ahmed Ra'ad Al Hamid & Brian Chiappetta
image direction & production
Diego Grandry
Edouard Mailaender
sound recording
Drastiques Mesures
sound design & mix
DJ 13NRV & Drastiques Mesures
commissioned by
Centre national des arts plastiques
as part of a partnership with