A Son : Sat | February 8 | 1:00 PM | Capitol 6
A Son : Thu | February 13 | 6:15 PM | SilverCity #3
Intense + Complex + Intimate
The 2011 Tunisian Revolution—the incendiary spark that ignited the pan-Arab popular rebellions known collectively as the “Arab Spring”—culminated in Tunisia in mass protests that led to the ouster of the kleptocratic and authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
In his powerful début feature, A Son, director Mehdi Barsaoui implies that the revolution was only a necessary first step in the transformation of Tunisia. The film suggests that the turbulent process of change continues in the present, and that the nation’s transformation is beset by political and social difficulties. Barsaoui’s film is far too nimble however, to become a political tract. Instead, A Son offers viewers a taut, intimate and gorgeously shot drama based on real events whose implication is that in the deep-rooted cultures of North Africa, the past refuses to simply recede. During a celebratory excursion into the austere Tunisian desert, Meriem (newcomer actress Najla Ben Abdallah), Fares (Sami Bouajila, who received the best actor award in the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival), and their ten-year-old son Aziz (Youssef Khemiri), are caught in the crossfire of a surprise militant attack. Aziz is seriously wounded and, as his still blood-spattered parents soon learn, requires an urgent liver transplant. This crisis sets in motion a meticulously structured plot in which emotional betrayal and sexual double standards serve as the intimate counterparts to post-revolutionary political inequity and religious tensions in the new Tunisia. Winner of multiple international festival awards, A Son reveals that political change inevitably plays out most profoundly in intimate contexts. – Lincoln Z. Shlensky
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