Tunisian Film Fest. Pune (27th & 28th June 2019)
Attended the Tunisian Film Festival jointly organized by Aashay Film Club, NFAI & FFSI at National Film Archives auditorium Pune. Out of six films screened, my picks were *’Mustfa Z’* (2017) directed by *Nidhal Chatta* & *’Whispering Sands’* (2019) directed by *Nacer Khmir*.
*Mustafa Z* (2017)
A review by Ram Tayade (contains spoilers)
Besides crisp editing and spic-and-span dialogues, the true brilliance of this movie lies in its innovative theme. The film portrays twenty four hours in the life of an ordinary citizen, Mustfa, who is run down by the continuing dysfunctional family life, indifferent social attitude, flaws in the governing system and apathy of the Govt. In a moment of an awareness, his pent up frustrations finally erupts and he revolts against family, society and the system since Tunisian citizen, who dreamed of a better life as a result of the revolution, are is still facing a system where the application of the law is always wrong and arbitrary.
On this day, when his marriage is on the rocks, one of his teeth falls out whilst getting ready in the bathroom. Then on his drive to the school, his teenage son insults him with scathing remarks. Next his work-day begins with his instant dismissal : he will never again present the news on the radio. He seeks calm by shutting himself at home where he falls asleep. On waking he notes to his dismay that he is urinating blood. No time to angst, however, as he must rush to pick up his son after school. On way, he suddenly runs out of fuel and has to abandon his car and leave in search of gasoline. On return, he discovers that his car is about to be impounded. He tries in vain to bribe municipal officials. Exasperated, he attempts one last gesture of rebellion and locks himself in the car that’s being towed away. He refuses to come out for whole night. Being a media man, he broadcasts his plight on a social media via internet which instantly catches media attention resulting in a visit of his wife, son and even Minister of the state.
He is transformed overnight from an ordinary gullible citizen to a hero who dares to say no and asserts his right to individual freedom …all this happening at an appropriate juncture… on the eve of first ever free election in Tunisia after revolution.
Superbly supported by a strong performance from the lead actor, Abdelmonem Chouayet, the director, Nidhal Chatta, brilliantly portrays number of contemporary evils of Tunisian society in this satirical tragic-comedy.
A must watch movie.
My rating: 9 out of 10