Tunisian Film Addresses Homosexuality

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“Le Fil”, the first feature film by Tunisian filmmaker Mehdi ben Attia, has brought the spotlight back on homosexuality in Tunisia. The film tells the story of two gay men living in a chauvinistic male society where ancient traditions and set norms rule.

The main character, Malik, is a well-off man who affirms his sexual orientation while living abroad. The death of his father brings him back to his native country, where he moves in with his mother. Unable to come out to her, he gets caught up in a web of lies with his growing relationship with Bilal at the center of it.

Last August, “Le Fil” was presented under the Tunisian National Selection during the Festival du Film Francophone d’Angouleme (South West of France). Critics at the Festival praised the performances of the lead actors and its candidness. However they deplored the overall depiction of homosexuality as an issue that affects only middle and upper class people and is reduced to a complex relationship with parents.

Tunisian audiences and censors will have to wait till next year to weigh in on the film, as it won’t be released before April 7, 2010.

Sometime in the first decade of the 21st century, Joelle found queer and feminist activism, which only added to her always being lost – in thought, that is. Joelle likes to wander (or is it ponder?) the world, read books, listen to her – yes, her – music, and mull over her existence, the human condition, and the thoughts zooming through her mind when she’s running or biking in the city and beyond. Queer existentialism anyone?

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