Selma, a psychoanalyst, deals with a cast of colourful new patients after returning home to Tunisia to open a practice.
In this sophisticated comedy, Manele Labidi opens a fascinating window into modern Tunisia at a crossroads, with a story of contrasts, contradictions and culture clashes, full of vitality and humour.
A film by Manele LABIDI
Tunisia / France, 2019, fiction, 1h28, Comedy / Drama
starring Golshifteh Farahani, Majd Mastoura, Aïcha Ben Miled, Feriel Chamari, Hichem Yacoubi, Najoua Zouhair, Jamel Sassi, Ramla Ayari
Original title : UN DIVAN A TUNIS Year: 2019 Runtime: 88 min Language: French / Arabic Country: France /Tunisia TAGS: Contemporary World Cinema, TIFF'19, Female Director, Comedy, Global Perspectives, Women In Film
NOTE BY THE PROGAMMER After 10 years of living in Paris, Selma (Golshifteh Farahani) has returned to Tunis. Back home, her younger cousin can't figure out why she'd leave the French capital, her aunt is overbearing, and her uncle is only giving her a matter of weeks to crash in the apartment above their house. Selma, nonetheless, is steadfast in her resolve: she wants to open up a psychotherapy practice. So begins the first feature directed and written by Manele Labidi, an incisive comedy about coming home, breaking taboos, and building community.
As Selma tries to settle in, she's faced with increasing complications that she - or her guiding patron Sigmund Freud - couldn't have predicted. There isn't just the matter of finding interested psychotherapy patients in a locale that's not keen on the talking cure, but she also needs to navigate a confusing bureaucratic circus in order to get the right papers to run her practice. On top of all that, a strapping - albeit unbending - cop, Naim (Majd Mastoura), is keeping a close eye on her every move.
Farahani (seen at the Festival in 2016 in Jim Jarmusch's Paterson and who's worked with greats like Asghar Farhadi) gives a powerful and compelling performance. She hits all the comic beats and deftly inhabits a character, who, above all, wants to do what's right. Arab Blues develops with an irresistible charm while not sidestepping bigger questions about both a country and a woman at a crossroads. KIVA REARDON (TIFF 2019, Toronto)
Producer Jean-Christophe Reymond
Director Manele Labidi
Screenplay Manele Labidi
Cinematography Lauren Brunet
Editing Yorgos Lamprinos
Production Designers Mila Preli, Raouf Helioui
Sound Olivier Dandré, Jerôme Gonthier, Rym Debbrarh-Mounir, Samuel Aïchoun
Publicists V Kelly & Associates, Inc.
Original Score Flemming Nordkrog
CAST Golshifteh Farahani, Majd Mastoura, Aïcha Ben Miled, Feriel Chamari, Hichem Yacoubi, Najoua Zouhair, Jamel Sassi, Ramla Ayari
Production Company Kazak Productions
International Sales Agent mk2 films
US Sales Agent mk2 films
Canadian Distributors MK2 MILE END, Films We Like
French distribution: Diaphana Distribution
2019 / TIFF, Toronto * Selection: Contemporary World Cinema * North American Premiere https://tiff.net/events/arab-blues https://2019.tiffr.com/shows/arab-blues
2019 / Venise, Italy * Selection: Giornate Degli Autori * World Premiere * Winner: People Choice Award