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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Film explores being gay in Tunisia

Source: Behind the mask

By Jerina Messie(BTM French reporter/translator)

A film, set to be released on the 7 April 2010, has brought the topic of homosexuality back in the agenda in Tunisia.

The first feature film by Tunisia’s Mehdi ben Attia titled “Le Fil”, tackles the issue of homosexuality between men within a male chauvinistic society where men are supposed to be men and ancient traditions still rule.

Entirely shot in Tunisia, “Le Fil” was presented under the Tunisian National Selection, during the Festival du Film Francophone d’Angouleme (South West of France), on 26 to the 30 August 2009.

The film is about Malik, a young man from a rich Tunisian family who has spent many years overseas. As the only son, the death of his father brings him back in his home country. During his years overseas, he discovered his sexual orientation.

Now that he is back home, living with his mother, he wants to “get out of the closet” and tell her that he loves men. But unable to do so, he lies and just gets himself into deeper and deeper water until he falls in love with Bilal.

With his young lover, everything becomes possible; Malik breaks taboos, comes clean about his homosexuality and in the heat of Tunisian summer finds the happiness he has always desired.

The rest of the film contains all the ingredients that go with the discovery of ones homosexuality, attraction, love and revelations and what subsequently follow, arguments, social hypocrisies and lies.

Critics paid tribute to the performance of the main characters, the absence of modesty in sex scenes, which they said are very realistic and filmed with sensuality and concluded that it is a good story well put together and filmed.

However, they deplored the fact that like in many gay films homosexuality is presented as an “issue” affecting only middle and upper class people and is reduced to a complex relationship with one of the two parents or even both.
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