This film is set in a Tunisian village in North Africa where the Islamic way of life rules. The village men maintain a tradition which requires them to spend 11 months a year in the nation’s capital, Tunis, earning money, and to spend only a month at home. Accordingly, the village women, including, Aicha, are forced to spend their lives in the confines of a world that revolves around the presence and absence of their men, as mothers and daughters-in-law rather than ‘women’ or ‘individuals.’
Filmmaker Moufida Tlatli elaborately weaves together the lives of three generations of women. She recreates the lives of Tunisian women whose endurance and changes through all the oppressive traditions and restrictions are portrayed with critical but intelligent touches. Aicha’s life is a cycle of pain and resignation, as she deals with her authoritarian and oppressive mother-in-law, an older daughter who was raped during her youth, a younger daughter who has fallen for forbidden love with a married man, and her autistic son, the youngest. However the various events of Aicha’s life-the first night of her wedding, childbirth, the love-hate relationship with her husband, the struggles to protect her daughters, and the profound companionship she maintains with women sharing similar predicaments- succeed in showing that her life is more layered and dynamic. (Joo You-shin)
Moufida TlatliMoufida Tlatli
Moufida Tlatli, now in her early fifties, was raised in Tunisia in a tradition-oriented family. After graduating from IDHEC film school in 1968, where she majored in editing, she went back to live in Tunisia in 1972. Her 1993 film The Silences of the Palace was selected for the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes in 1994 and received a Special Mention for the Camera d’Or Award.