A couch in Tunis: A session sparkling ***

Un divan à Tunis: Une séance pétillante ***

Un divan à Tunis: Une séance pétillante ***

Selma (Golshifteh Farahani) sees, on his couch of colorful characters.

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July 28, 2020

Updated on July 31, 2020 at 4h07

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A couch in Tunis: A session sparkling ***

Un divan à Tunis: Une séance pétillante ***

Un divan à Tunis: Une séance pétillante ***

Eric Moreault

The Sun

CRITICAL / A couch to Tunis arrive at the cinema to have a good time. Comedy sparkling that takes place, it is clear that, in Tunisia, the first film of Manele Labidi offers a change of scenery, sunny, gallery of colorful characters and an interesting perspective on the status of women and of a people torn between his desires for freedom and tradition.

The film is based on the return to the country of Selma (Golshifteh Farahani), after an exile (forced, to his father) of 25 years in Paris. We are in the aftermath of the arab revolution and the departure of president Ben Ali. The mother wants to offer their services to a psychoanalyst to help his countrymen — where is the couch of the title.

Of course, it does not take place at all as expected. His manners of a young modern woman who is single, in jeans and with a cigarette in the fingers, and his French accent go wrong. It deals with “crâneuse post-colonialist”. Everyone predicted a failure.

But Selma shows a lot of determination. She finds little by little its brands by welcoming patients in his office on the roof — even if the young woman has to deal with “customers” who confuse sessions priced with “benefit-priced”.

This is without counting on the zeal of the inspector Naim (Madj Mastoura) who reveals to him that he lacks a permission necessary to continue to exercise. In addition to the police, nit-picking, Selam has to deal with a bureaucracy kafkaesque. And her niece, Olfa (Aïcha Ben miled’s thoughts), a young woman, rebellious and ungrateful who aspire to go to Europe. It synthesizes perfectly the incongruity of the situation : “You go back to the country so that all the world dream to fuck the camp.”

Un divan à Tunis: Une séance pétillante ***

Selma has to deal with his niece, Olfa (Aïcha Ben miled’s thoughts), a young woman, rebellious and ungrateful who aspire to go to Europe.

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Because the people must cope with its fears of change, his desire for freedom, but also the divisions between islamists and modernists, while the socio-political structure proves unstable. In other words : a tinderbox in which several people are playing with matches.

It will be understood, the art of Selma is a pretext to examine the psyche of tunisia. Without too break the head. The mother is both “naïve, idealistic and stupid”, as she said so well. Courageous, would she have been able to add.

The portrait drawn by Manele Labidi proves to be colorful, but hardly transcendent. Some situations bordered on too much the caricature, which becomes annoying. It is not obvious to find the right balance between mockery and reflection.

At least, the director makes us the grace not to reveal too much information about the past of Selma, and, therefore, on its real motives. And the film adopts a perspective of women in a country who still has difficulty getting rid of his inheritance misogynist. Well seen.

A couch in Tunis is based of course on the shoulders of Golshifteh Farahani, also obviously comfortable in the registry, drama (Paterson, the daughters of The sun), of the comedy here is more pungent than coarse. A presence that pierces the screen, as usual.

Unfortunately, Manele Labidi has not been able to resist the call of the happy ending required, which appears much too blotchy to be credible. The director has tried to straighten the bar with its latest images, but this is hardly convincing.

But still. This is a film that is well worth a little session at the cinema. Would it be only to cross to the ghost of Freud…

The generic

Rating : ***

Title : A couch in Tunis

Genre : Comedy, drama

Director : Manele Labidi

Actors : Golshifteh Farahani, Madj Mastoura, Aïcha Ben Miled’s Thoughts

Duration : 1h28

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