Kino Eye: Silences of the Palace

Submitted by AWL on 16 February, 2021 - 6:08 Author: John Cunningham
Silences of the Palace

After last week’s article on Saudi women filmmakers, here is a Tunisian film: The Silences of the Palace (1994) by female director Moufida Tlatli. It is set in the 1950s, while Tunisia is still a French colony. Alia (Ghalia Lacroix), a cabaret singer revisits the place of her birth – a now deserted palace where her mother was a servant. As she wanders the empty building, she relives scenes from her childhood and particularly the sexual humiliations and drudgery endured by her mother. Due to her wonderful singing Alia breaks away but her visit brings back many poignant and often painful memories. After the Arab Spring of 2011 Moufida Tlati was appointed Minister of Culture in the provisional government. She died only a few weeks ago (7 February): her films are her memorial.

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