A conversation with Kamel Krifa, for The Postil Magazine

Kamel Krifa  Kamel Krifa is an actor, film producer, and Hollywood’s stars trainer—including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michelle Rodriguez, Eddie Griffin, Steven Seagal, and many other ones. Krifa ranks among Van Damme’s longstanding collaborators and personal friends, acting alongside him in various movies. This conversation with cultural journalist Grégoire Canlorbe first happened in Paris, in July 2017; it was resumed and validated in April 2020.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: In Kickboxer IV, you have given flesh and soul to iconic villain Tong Po. Do you intend to return to the saga?

  Kamel Krifa: At the time I had been offered a contract of five films to interpret the character of Tong Po. It was an interesting challenge, for my acting was essentially limited to the expression of my eyes and to working the articulation of the mouth. Indeed, I was asked to wear a mask, destined to give me oriental features. Alas, concerning fighting scenes, I did not have the opportunity to really prepare them thoroughly, because I had to avoid spoiling, through my respiration, the three hours of make-up that were devolved to me each day. (Knowing that an extra hour was still required to remove my make-up after filming.)

  Finally, I will have only once lent my traits—or rather, lent my stature and my agility—to the deceitful and cruel Tong Po. But I effectively returned to the franchise Kickboxer, since I appear in Kickboxer: Retaliation, alongside Mike Tyson, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Christophe Lambert, and none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme. The movie was released in January 2018. It is the sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance, a remake of Kickboxer released twenty-seven years after the original film.

Kickboxer IV final fight
Final fight in Kickboxer IV, exhibiting the martial prowess of Kamel Krifa (in the role of Tong Po)

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Jean-Claude Van Damme has directed a single film, The Quest, in which he plays in the company of the late Roger Moore. According to you, why did JCVD not want to repeat the experience since then?

  Kamel Krifa: Jean-Claude has an undeniable talent as a director and he does not hesitate to advise the directors who work with him. They benefit from his experience, acquired both before and behind the camera. In turn, he offers them the best of himself in his acting. Since The Quest, he indeed prefers to delegate the task to the director and to focus on his interpretation. It allows him to let his mind float — instead of cornering his attention with a host of technical considerations that never leaves his mind in peace. In that way, he can prove fully invested, relaxed, and reactive under the eye of the camera; he can put himself in the skin of his character with an optimal ability to concentrate.

  Also, entrusting the filmmaking to someone else, whom he knows qualified, and to whom he transmits his directives, allows him to take time for himself: time to commune with himself, and to read and meditate on subjects that are dear to his heart. Jean-Claude is not only a man of great culture; he is an authentic gifted, a superior intelligence, who carries a unique and insightful look at people, the things of life, and the universe.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Whether as his coach, his producer, or his on-screen partner, you have been working steadily and consistently with JCVD. Would you care to say a few words about it?

  Kamel Krifa: I have known Jean-Claude since he was thirteen. When I met him, I was twenty years old; and from simple sports room colleagues, we quickly became best friends, spiritual brothers. In 1989, Jean-Claude, who had just acted in his launch pad Bloodsport (and who was about to become an international star with the tremendous successes of the early 1990s), proposed to me that I become his exclusive trainer; very honored, I accepted his offer. I then had the opportunity to act alongside him in Death Warrant and Lionheart—and that is how I became a Hollywood actor.

Kamel Krifa in Death Warrant
Kamel Krifa in Death Warrant

  During the 1990s I continued to appear alongside Jean-Claude in various action movies; on the same token, I launched into production. That is how I was an associate producer for Double Impact, featuring Bolo Yeung. I also co-produced Legionnaire, for which I made location scouting in Morocco for two years. I must confess that I have a special affection for that period film, which deals with the Rif War and which features Abdelkrim Khattab, whom I had the good fortune to play. Most recently, I collaborated with Jean-Claude on the pilot of the TV series Jean-Claude Van Johnson, sponsored by Amazon—and, of course, on the last installment of the saga Kickboxer.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Let us talk about the origin of your cinematographic vocation. What could be, in particular, the “double impact” of your Tunisian childhood and of your early discovery of martial arts?

  Kamel Krifa: At the age of seven I had stars in my eyes in front of peplums and other spy films from the 1960s; and it is to a large extent in the popular movie theaters of Tunis, where action movie left me mesmerized, that my vocation of actor was born. But it is also at home, from a very early age, by having fun shooting amateur films through a play of shadow and light, by imagining myself in the shoes of role models like Tarzan or Maciste, that my attraction for cinema took shape. The martial arts, which I have been practicing since my childhood, seemed to me early on to be the royal way to make my entry into the Hollywood milieu. As an adult my experiences in the army, the police, or as a bodyguard allowed me to perfect my combat skills.

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A conversation with Daniel Conversano, for American Renaissance

daniel-2  Daniel Conversano, co-founder of the Suavelos association, is a Franco-Italian thinker and novelist who defines himself as a white advocate and Westernist. He is the author of Désolé Jean-Pierre, and publishes twice a month long filmed interviews with figures of nationalism, cultural and political interviews that he has been conducting since April 2016. The program is called “Vive l’Europe” and is very successful on the French-speaking net.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: How do you move from fighting for the nation to fighting for the white race?

  Daniel Conversano: In my opinion, there is no nation without a people. This is why I have long defined myself as a nationalist and not as a patriot, the difference between the two being that the nationalist takes into consideration the people in its racial dimension—the blood. France is a white country, like all European countries. The population of a white nation may change ethnically from one European group to another, it will remain a white country, and therefore a European nation.

  As for clarifying what the “white race” is, there are many scientific definitions from anthropology to population genetics. At minimum, I think we can agree on an almost geographical approach to the notion—namely, that the whites are “the locals” of Europe. The French people are made up of Celtic Whites, Germanic Whites, Franks, Latins, Basques, and Bretons. These are the main ethnic groups that forged the history of France.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You like to describe the civilization of the white race, or Western civilization, as superior. Please explain.

  Daniel Conversano: I consider culture as the product of blood. Peoples achieve at levels that correspond to their aptitudes. They develop the value systems that express their mentality. It is, admittedly, not politically correct to point this out, but it is possible to establish hierarchies between nations according to results—whether from the point of view of technology, standard of living, arts, or individual.

  I would not say that Western civilization is absolutely superior to Chinese or Japanese civilization, for example. As for the Arabs, it must be understood that their culture has been destroyed by Islam, and that their current backwardness seems essentially linked to religious rather than ethnic reasons. Black Africans have never created civilizations, in the generally understood sense.

  Clearly, Western civilization—and by that I mean Europe, North America, Australia, or even Western Russia—seems to me to be superior to everything that could be produced on the African continent and in much of the Islamic East. It is in the West that one lives the best, and immigration from the Third World reflects this.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: It is sometimes argued, in the field of historical sociology, that the foundation of Western civilization lies in heroism—in praising and encouraging exceptional individuals because they are exceptional. Do you agree?

  Daniel Conversano: Yes, heroism is at the heart of the story of the white man. The history of the West boils down to the slow and progressive understanding of the uniqueness of human life, and of the individual importance of exceptional men, whose scientific, political or artistic work stands the test of time. How have we been able to offer those men the life they deserve, so that their genius may flourish? That’s what fascinates me. In this respect, the West seems to me to be distinct from Asian cultures, which put the collective before the individual, social cohesion before self-fulfillment, and are therefore not favorable to the expression of human genius.

  There are men who have more individual worth than others—in any society. It is normal that those men be put forward. It is normal for them to be given a life that allows them to give their best and perform works that benefit the whole of society. I do not defend just free enterprise; I defend a mobile hierarchy, which rests on natural superiority, and which rewards genius, intelligence, work, honor, abnegation, and the capacity to bring good to society.

  To me, liberalism should be the means to establish a just hierarchy—as opposed to a rigid hierarchy that disdains the deserving and creative individual, and does not allow him to rise socially. Frédéric Delavier puts it well: France is essentially a country of castes that ignores the culture of heroism in favor of a culture of degrees and credentials. It goes without saying that I am not nostalgic for the Ancien Régime, although I readily admit that it was the royalists who made France. A person born a commoner had a predetermined fate, dark and off-putting; he could not hope for improvement. The castes of the past were not much more rigid than those of today.

  At the bottom line, I would say that we have to preserve heroism, which veritably stems from the Greek spirit, but to go forward rather than ignore the obsolete character of the inequalities of the Ancien Régime. We must defend the French people, which is a European people of the white race and a Christian culture, but I would say that we must promote liberalism—on the condition that it favors individual fulfillment, and that it allows a more equitable society, instead of enforcing a new caste system based on money, nepotism, and academic degree. For this reason, the synthesis of national-liberalism seems to me to be the politically desirable path.

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