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Arab Blues

Un divan à Tunis

In this provocative culture clash comedy, Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly, Paterson) plays a Parisian psychoanalyst attempting to set up a practice in a post-Arab Spring Tunis.

Dir-Scr Manele Labidi Labbé
Prod Jean-Christophe Reymond
With Golshifteh Farahani, Majd Mastoura, Aïcha Ben Miled
France
2019
88min
Sales mk2 Films
With English subtitles

When you visit the beauty parlour or hammam, you also talk about your problems, allowing you to leave with a sense of emotional investment as well as some physical improvement. That’s the kind of practical therapy this working-class suburb of Tunis appreciates. Hence their baffled resistance to enigmatic, Paris-raised outsider Selma when she tries to establish her psychoanalysis practice. With people still reeling from the country’s turbulent 2011 revolution, some believe there’s been more than enough recent self-help interventions. Writer-director Manele Labidi Labbé’s debut feature is a wry, slyly effective satire of entrenched socio-political traditions. Iranian star Farahani is a subtly magnetic lead, ably backed by a colourful supporting cast of predominantly female allies and antagonists.

Leigh Singer

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