The Season Of Men

The Season Of Men


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The title is ironic. For these Tunisian women, the season of men lasts three weeks a year. The rest of the time they are stuck by themselves, looking after children, keeping the place clean and feeling frustrated.

The men have it easy. They live and work in Tunis, while their women are on the island of Djerba. They can do what they like, when they like, and have an excuse, being the breadwinners. Also, it is tradition to treat women as vassals.

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Aicha (Rabiaa Ben Abdallah) has two daughters and a much younger autistic son, who needs her special care. She resents the good education she received because she can't make use of it, way off on the island, while her husband grows fat, selling carpets, many of which she designs and weaves herself. The relationship with her mother-in-law does not help.

At the start, the daughters are grown up. The youngest is a violinist, who is having an affair with the conductor of the orchestra, while the eldest has problems with her marriage. Both take time away from the city to be with the family on the island, resurrecting memories from their childhood.

From a Western viewpoint, this is a vibrant feminist movie, and yet writer/director Moufida Tlatli is telling a story, rather than preaching a gospel. She creates this household of women and makes every one of their lives important.

It is in the detail that she succeeds beautifully.

Reviewed on: 01 Aug 2001
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Tunisian women spend 11 months of the year together on an island without their men.

Director: Moufida Tlatli

Writer: Nouri Bouzid, Moufida Tlatli

Starring: Rabiaa Ben Abdallah, Sabah Bouzouita, Ghalia Ben Ali, Hend Sabri, Ezzedien Gennoun, Mouna Noureddine

Year: 2000

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 2000

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