Le Fil: Breaking Boundaries in Tunisia

Once upon a time I was a movie buff – roughly between 1997 and 2000 -subscribing to Empire and gathering film magazines during trips to France.

For a while, Tarantino was my God of choice (he still is in many ways), but eventually that alter toppled and I returned to that which I know and love best: books.

With J. R. R. Tolkien presiding over the heavenly hierarchy, as always.

Nevertheless, while I am not overwhelmed by the world of film as much – save for Caramel last weekend – I remain cognizant of its power.Le Fil

Particularly in the case of breaking taboos, which brings us to a Tunisian film due for release next year, Le Fil.

Directed by Mehdi ben Attia and shot entirely in Tunisia, Le Fil explores the issue of homosexuality in a male-dominated society, wherein traditions reign supreme and men are men.

Or at least conform to whatever notion of manliness society requires at any given time.

The central protagonist, Malik, is a young man from a wealthy family who has resided abroad for several years and in the course of his absence has affirmed his sexual orientation.

Brought back to his Tunisian roots through the death of his father, he once more takes up residence with his mother.

Although he wishes to come out to his mother and explain his love of men, he is unable to do so, succumbing to a series of lies that swirl around his ever-deepening relationship with Bilal.

Critics at the Festival du Film Francophone d’Angouleme (South West of France) last month applauded the film for its candidness, though a degree of disgruntlement was reserved for the socio-economic setting of the film – the dilemmas of homosexuality are not restricted to the upper echelons of Arab society.

It will, nevertheless, be interesting to observe reactions to the film in Tunisia upon its release on 7 April 2010.

The censors are doubtless sharpening their pencils as you read.

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This entry was posted on September 22, 2009 by in Africa, Culture, Middle East, note-to-self, Pop culture, Tunisia and tagged , , , , , , .
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