When she was 17, Fatma was raped by a cousin. It leaves her scarred, but she doesn’t tell anyone about it. Continuing her studies, she dreams of freedom and meets Aziz. She loves him, they marry and she is ready to do anything to preserve their union apart, that is, from perpetuating the prevailing hypocrisy about virginity
Fatma is at the extreme limit of fiction, so great is its desire to testify to the condition of Tunisian women. It reflects the vision of a man who gives himself the means to respect his subject. Stripping both the image and its treatment to the minimum, Khaled Ghorbal allows his characters (Fatma, and also the other women she mixes with) an interiority that speaks realms. It is this simplicity and sincerity that is so moving. The dialogues are reduced to the strict minimum, leaving glances, silences, and faces to express the rest. This gives them all the more elliptic force:
« Tell me you love me, or else », Fatma tells Aziz, who has secretly come to see her in her teacher’s lodgings in her small village.
« You’ll kill me? »
« No, better still: I’ll wake up the whole village! »
If the film indulges in fixed shots and slowness, it is because interior freedom involves some soul-searching and requires time. When Fatma tells her husband what she knows might ruin their marriage, it is also the result of a process of time and determination. She can then unbraid her hair, leaving the family home because speaking out is a matter of freedom.
124min, distr. MK2, featuring Awatef Jendoubi (Fatma), Nabila Guider (Samira), Bagdadi Aoum (Aziz), Amel Safta (Radhia).///Article N° : 5566