Un divan à Tunis [Arab Blues] (2019)

Un divan à Tunis
Director: Manele Labidi
Writer: Maud Ameline, Manele Labidi
Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Majd Mastoura, Aïsha Ben Miled, Feryel Chammari, Hichem Yacoubi, Najoua Zouhair, Jamel Sassi, Ramla Ayari, Moncef Ajengui
Seen on: 13.8.2020

Content Note: transmisia

Selma (Golshifteh Farahani) decided to move back to Tunis from Paris – much to the incomprehension of most people. Her cousin Olfa (Aïsha Ben Miled) doesn’t understand why she would leave the freedom Paris promises and the rest of Tunis doesn’t understand why she would want to open her practice as a psychotherapist in Tunis. But people flock to her office. She also draws the attention of police officer Naim (Majd Mastoura) who starts harrassing her about a proper licence for her work.

Un divan à Tunis has some nice moments and Farahani is fantastic, but the film relies a little too much on cheap jokes – one of which is pretty transmisic – to actually work.

The film poster showing Selma (Goshifteh Farahani) sitting on the roof floor in front of a couch, next to a picture of Sigmund Freud.
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Timbuktu (2014)

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Writer: Abderrahmane Sissako, Kessen Tall
Cast: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki, Layla Walet Mohamed, Mehdi A.G. Mohamed, Hichem Yacoubi, Kettly Noël
Seen on: 21.01.2015

Libyan Jihadists are gaining traction in Timbuktu, imposing strict religious rules on the Malinese people with differing success and acceptance. Smoking, music or soccer are all banned. Cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed) and his family (Toulou Kiki, Layla Walet Mohamet, Mehdi A.G. Mohamed) are also confronted with the Jihadist demands, but since they live very remotely, they are able to ignore most of it. But then one of Kidane’s cows is killed by a neighbor. When Kidane confronts him, it ends deadly and Kidane finds himself facing sharia court.

Timbuktu is a fascinating look into a world I know practically nothing about and it’s a glimpse that feels very realistic.

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