Arab Film Days is proud to present the Tunisian drama A Son, the first feature film by Mehdi M. Barsaoui, as the opening movie of this year’s festival.
The film is set in 2011, a few months after the Tunisian revolution, and follows Farés, Meriem and their young son Aziz, an upper middle-class family. During a trip to the village, the family ends up stuck in a military crossfire, and Aziz is hit by a bullet. The tragedy triggers revelations of deeply kept family secrets and threatens the marriage of Farés and Meriem.
A Son premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year, and was described by Jay Weissberg in Variety: «Not many debuting directors are able to bring subtlety and depth to a heart-rending subject, which is just one reason why Mehdi M. Barsaoui’s superb “A Son” deserves significant attention.» Read the full review here.
A Son will open the festival Wednesday, March 18 at 18.00, and director Mehdi M. Barsaoui will be present during the opening ceremony. He will also be present at the screening of A Son on Thursday, March 19.
Language Arabic, French
Playtime 96 min
A Son is set in 2011, a few months after the Tunisian revolution. We meet Farés, Meriem and their young son Aziz, an upper middle-class family. During a trip to the village, the family ends up stuck in a military crossfire, and Aziz is hit by a bullet. Upon their arrival at the hospital, it becomes clear that Aziz is severely injured and in need of a transplantation in order to survive. As the waitlist is too long, the only alternative is an illegal liver transplantation from Libya, another country in the dawn of revolution. The tragedy triggers revelations of deeply kept family secrets and threatens the marriage of Farés and Meriem.
Director Mehdi M. Barsaoui has created a solid drama with elements from the thriller genre in his first feature film. It is a wise choice to use the onset of the Arab Spring as a thematic backdrop to convey something intimate and difficult about family relations. Sami Bouajila brilliantly shows the complexity of his character Farés, balancing a tough exterior with a vulnerability as the family secrets comes to light. Najla Ben Abdallah, in the role of Meriem, conveys the bottomless sorrow of a mother as well as the determination to save her son no matter the consequences. The overall result is a tremendously intelligent and intriguing movie.