Foreign Body

  • Corps étranger
Genre : Drama
Type : Fiction
Original title : Jassad Gharib [titre arabe]
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2016
Format : Feature
Running time : 92 (in minutes)جسد-غريب-962420777221353/

Samia, a young illegal immigrant, finds a job with a middle-class Parisian household. Her presence dramatically changes the relations among the members of the family. The most dependent person is not always the one we expect...

Seeking refuge from her Islamist radical brother whom she informed on, a young woman arrives in France illegally following Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution and discovers a new world of both hope and danger, in the fourth feature from writer-director Raja Amari (Satin Rouge, Buried Secrets).

A film by Raja Amari

Tunisia / France, 2016, Fiction, 1hr32 minutes, 14A, colour, Arabic / French, with English subtitles

starring Hiam Abbass, Sarra Hannachi, Salim Kechiouche

Director's Quote:
I like characters' development to be liberating and driven by desire. Beyond social emacipation, what interests me most is how one may surpass oneself.'

In the turbulent aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, young Samia (Sarra Hannachi) flees her homeland. She braves hostile seas in the crossing to France, but once there she finds that her struggles have only just begun. With no friends, no family, and - most crucially - no immigration papers, Samia has to figure out how to make a life and a living in a foreign land.

She meets a young man, Imed (Salim Kechiouche, Blue is the Warmest Color), and soon finds work in the employ of the elegant Leila (the inimitable Hiam Abbass, subject of an In Conversation With event at the Festival this year). But her presence in Leila's middle-class household triggers a shift in its dynamics, and soon Samia is enmeshed in a web of sexual tension.

Timely as it is, Foreign Body seems to typify a media narrative of forced mass migration: desperate, distressing, impossible. The film transcends this sweeping, reductive thinking due to the way director Raja Amari immerses her camera in Samia's new reality. She shoots with a close, handheld aesthetic that makes abstraction and generalization all but impossible, bringing us the story of a unique young woman.

Hannachi portrays her character's inner turmoil brilliantly. Samia is sometimes ragged and sometimes refined, ranging from stoic to sensual, but this is not because she's unstable. Rather, it's because of her ability to change in response to different situations and environments - an ability born of necessity. This is a woman determined to survive at all costs.
Cameron BAILEY (Toronto, TIFF 2016)

Tags: Film, Migration + Diaspora, Female Experience, Female Director, Drama, Western Europe, Arab Experience

Executive Producers
Dora Bouchoucha, Dominique Besnéhard

Lina Chaabane

Raja Amari

Raja Amari

Raja Amari

Aurélien Devaux

Guerric Catala

Production Designer
Rauf Helioui

Ludovic Escallier, Benoît Hillebrant, Cyril Holtz

Nicolas Becker

Original Score
Nicolas Becker

Hiam Abbass (Leila)
Sarra Hannachi (Samia)
Salim Kechiouche (Imed)

Production Companies
Nomadis Images, Mon Voisin Productions

Primary Publicity
Ryan Bruce Levey film distribution and PR services

International Sales Agent
UDI - Urban Distribution International

2016 | 41st TIFF - Toronto International Film Festival
* Sélection / Special Presentations
* World Premiere / Première Mondiale
* Projection / Screening: Thu Sep 8
* Projection / Screening: Wed Sep 14
* Projection / Screening: Thu Sep 15
* Projection / Screening: Sun Sep 18

2010 | Fonds Sanda (Abu Dhabi, 2010), candidate:


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  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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