Beauty and the Dogs
Aala Kaf Ifrit
A night transforms into a nightmare as one woman attempts to seek justice but discovers her helplessness in the face of institutionalised patriarchy.
Dir-Scr Kaouther Ben Hania
Prod Nadim Cheikhrouha, Habib Attia
With Mariam Al Ferjani, Ghanem Zrelli
Bold and defiant, Kaouther Ben Hania’s fiction debut, based on real events, presents a pointed questioning of patriarchal systems, systemic corruption and of the narrative of victimhood. Nine single-take sequences follow Miriam over the course of one night. It begins benignly at a university fundraising event, where she catches the eye of a handsome new face. The second sequence sees the man pursuing her, his intentions unclear. Miriam next appears dishevelled and petrified. She has just been raped by several policemen. And so a bureaucratic nightmare begins, as Miriam and the man attempt to obtain a medical or police statement in order to report the crime. The film offers sharp social commentary on the agency of a rape victim – questioned rather than believed, engaged in a maddening cycle of victimising behaviour. Miriam’s defiance reveals the manipulation of stigma against her and the underlying systemic corruption, but also the power that she has to resist.