Best Tunisian Movies
Tunisia has a rich and vibrant cinema tradition that has produced many celebrated and internationally acclaimed films.
From award-winning dramas to thought-provoking documentaries and lighthearted comedies, Tunisian movies have explored a wide range of themes and subjects.
Tunisian cinema is known for its powerful and socially engaged storytelling, often reflecting on the country’s complex history and diverse culture.
In this guide, we will explore some of the best Tunisian movies to watch, highlighting their unique qualities and cultural significance.
Whether you are a cinema enthusiast looking to broaden your horizons or simply interested in Tunisian culture and history, these films are sure to entertain and enlighten.
1. Bab’Aziz: The Prince That Contemplated His Soul (2005)
“Bab’Aziz: The Prince That Contemplated His Soul” is a 2005 Tunisian drama film directed by Nacer Khemir.
The film tells the story of Bab’Aziz, a blind dervish who wanders the desert with his granddaughter Ishtar in search of a gathering of dervishes that takes place once every thirty years.
Along the way, they encounter a series of characters and learn about the power of love and the importance of spiritual contemplation.
The film is noted for its visually stunning cinematography, as well as its poetic and mystical storytelling. It also features a beautiful musical score by Armand Amar.
“Bab’Aziz: The Prince That Contemplated His Soul” was a critical success, both in Tunisia and internationally, winning numerous awards at film festivals around the world.
It is considered a classic of Tunisian cinema, admired for its spiritual and philosophical exploration of life’s mysteries.
- 96 minutes | Tunisia | 2008 | Audio: Arabic, Farsi | Subtitles: English
- Golshifteh Farahani, Hossein Panahi, Parviz Shahinkhou (Actors)
- Nacer Khemir (Director)
- Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
2. Hedi (2016)
“Hedi” is a Tunisian drama film directed by Mohamed Ben Attia. The film tells the story of Hedi, a young man living in Tunisia who is struggling to find meaning in his life.
Hedi is engaged to a woman chosen for him by his family and works as a car salesman, but he feels trapped and unfulfilled.
His life changes when he meets Rim, an independent-minded woman who challenges his beliefs and offers him a different perspective on life.
The film explores themes of tradition, identity, and personal freedom. It offers a nuanced portrayal of Tunisian society and the tensions between traditional and modern values.
It also portrays the complex relationships between family members and the expectations placed on individuals to conform to social norms.
“Hedi” is known for its subtle and understated performances, particularly that of its lead actor, Majd Mastoura, who won the Best Actor award at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
The film was highly acclaimed upon its release and has become a landmark of Tunisian cinema.
Overall, “Hedi” is a powerful and moving film that explores universal themes of self-discovery and personal freedom within the context of a specific cultural and social milieu.
It offers a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of Tunisian society and the struggles of its young people to find meaning and purpose in their lives.
- Spanish, Catalan (Subtitles)
- English (Publication Language)
3. Making Of (2006)
“Making Of” is a 2006 Romanian drama film directed by Nae Caranfil. The movie is a satirical exploration of the Romanian film industry and follows the story of a group of filmmakers as they attempt to create a low-budget movie.
The film is a sharp and witty commentary on the challenges and absurdities of filmmaking, particularly in the context of the Romanian film industry during the post-communist era.
The characters in the movie are based on real people and the events are drawn from the director’s own experiences working in the Romanian film industry.
The movie offers a humorous and often biting critique of the many obstacles that filmmakers face, including censorship, political interference, and financial constraints.
It also provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Romanian film industry and the struggles of artists and filmmakers to create meaningful work in a challenging and often hostile environment.
Overall, “Making Of” is an engaging and thought-provoking film that offers a unique perspective on the art of filmmaking and the challenges faced by artists in the post-communist era.
It is a must-see for anyone interested in cinema, Romanian culture, and the struggles of artists and creators.
4. Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces (1990)
“Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces” is a 1990 Tunisian coming-of-age drama film directed by Ferid Boughedir. The film follows the story of Noura, a young boy living in the Halfaouine district of Tunis, who is on the cusp of adolescence and beginning to explore his sexuality.
The movie explores themes of family, tradition, and the complexities of growing up in a conservative Muslim society. Noura navigates his relationships with his mother, sisters, and male friends, as well as his growing attraction to the women who frequent the local bathhouse.
The film portrays the struggle between modernity and tradition, as Noura is torn between his desire to explore his own identity and the expectations placed upon him by his family and society.
“Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces” is known for its frank and sensitive portrayal of sexuality and adolescence in a Muslim society. The film offers a unique insight into Tunisian culture and traditions, while also highlighting universal themes of coming-of-age and personal growth.
Overall, “Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces” is a beautifully crafted and poignant film that explores important social and cultural issues with sensitivity and nuance.
The movie has become a classic of Tunisian cinema and is widely regarded as one of the most important Arab films of the 20th century.
- Selim Boughedir, Mustapha Adouani, Rabia Ben Abdallah (Actor)
- Ferid Boughedir (Director)
- Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
5. A Summer in La Goulette (1996)
“A Summer in La Goulette” (French: “Un été à La Goulette”) is a Tunisian-French film directed by Ferid Boughedir and released in 1996.
The film is set in the summer of 1967 in the Tunisian town of La Goulette, which was then a diverse and multicultural community of Muslims, Jews, and Christians living together in relative harmony.
The film follows the story of three teenage girls – one Muslim, one Jewish, and one Catholic – who are close friends and share a dream of losing their virginity.
Against the backdrop of political and social tensions that are brewing in the region, the girls navigate their way through their changing bodies, desires, and cultural expectations.
The film is notable for its sensitive portrayal of the complex relationships between the different communities in La Goulette, and for its frank and honest portrayal of female sexuality.
It is also praised for its use of music, which reflects the cultural diversity of the town and creates a nostalgic and evocative atmosphere.
“A Summer in La Goulette” is significant for its exploration of themes such as identity, friendship, and the impact of political and social change on personal lives.
It offers a unique perspective on life in a multicultural community, and has been praised for its warm and humanistic approach to its subject matter. It remains a celebrated and influential film in Tunisian and French cinema.
- Factory sealed DVD
- Claudia Cardinale, Sonia Mankai, Ava Cohen-Jonathan (Actors)
- Ferid Boughedir (Director)
- Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
3 Characteristics of Tunisian Movies
Tunisian cinema has its own unique characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of cinema. Here are three characteristics of Tunisian movies:
Social and political themes: Tunisian movies often explore social and political issues that are relevant to the country’s history and culture.
This is due to the country’s history of colonialism, revolution, and social change, which have shaped the Tunisian identity and continue to influence its art and cinema. Many Tunisian films address themes such as poverty, gender inequality, corruption, and political oppression.
Realism: Tunisian cinema is known for its realistic style and focus on the everyday lives of ordinary people. The films often use non-professional actors and naturalistic settings to create a sense of authenticity and intimacy.
This style of filmmaking is influenced by the Italian neorealist movement, which emerged in the aftermath of World War II and focused on the lives of working-class people.
Multilingualism: Tunisia is a multilingual country, with Arabic and French as the official languages. Tunisian movies often reflect this linguistic diversity by incorporating both languages into the dialogue and subtitles.
This creates a unique cultural identity for Tunisian cinema, which is both rooted in Arabic and influenced by French cinema.
3 Reasons To Watch Tunisian Movies
Unique cultural perspective: Tunisian cinema provides a unique perspective on Arab and North African culture, offering insights into the social, political, and economic issues facing the region.
Tunisian films often tackle difficult and controversial topics, such as women’s rights, religious extremism, and political corruption, providing a nuanced and thought-provoking perspective on these issues.
Diverse storytelling: Tunisian cinema is known for its diversity and innovation, with filmmakers exploring a wide range of genres and styles. From gritty social realism to surrealistic fantasy, Tunisian movies offer something for everyone, providing a rich and varied cinematic experience.
Growing international recognition: Tunisian cinema has been gaining international recognition in recent years, with films such as “Beauty and the Dogs” and “The Man Who Sold His Skin” winning awards at major film festivals around the world.
Watching Tunisian movies allows viewers to explore this emerging cinema scene and discover talented new filmmakers and actors.
Best Tunisian Movies – Wrap Up
Tunisia has a rich and vibrant film industry that has produced many critically acclaimed films over the years. Some of the best Tunisian movies that have gained international recognition include:
“The Silences of the Palace” (1994) directed by Moufida Tlatli
“Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces” (1990) directed by Ferid Boughedir
“The Man from Oudhna” (1990) directed by Abdelmajid R’chich
“The Flower of Aleppo” (2016) directed by Ridha Behi
“The Wedding Song” (2008) directed by Karin Albou
“Bezness” (1992) directed by Nouri Bouzid
“As I Open My Eyes” (2015) directed by Leyla Bouzid
“Making Of” (2006) directed by Nouri Bouzid
“Satin Rouge” (2002) directed by Raja Amari
“The Magic Box” (2002) directed by John Strickland
These films cover a range of genres, from drama to comedy, and explore a variety of themes related to Tunisian society, culture, and history. Tunisian cinema continues to evolve and produce new and innovative works that showcase the talent and creativity of its filmmakers.