Kaouther Ben Hania: 'I Was Interested in Telling the Story of One Night.'

By Vivarelli, Nick | Variety, May 21, 2017 | Go to article overview

Kaouther Ben Hania: 'I Was Interested in Telling the Story of One Night.'


Vivarelli, Nick, Variety


TUNISIAN DIRECTOR Kaouther Ben Hania is the only Arab auteur in the Cannes official selection this year. Her first full-fledged feature, "Beauty and the Dogs," which screens in Un Certain Regard, is centered around the rape of a young woman by policemen outside a beachfront nightclub in Tunisia, based on a true case that sparked plenty of outrage. Ben Hania spoke to Variety about the challenges of bringing to the screen a story that is symbolic of Tunisia after the Arab Spring.

"Beauty and the Dogs" seems a natural transition from your previous works, "Imams Go to School," "Challat of Tunis" and "Zaineb Hates the Snow," which, simply put, are about social issues. What drew you to this subject?

The real rape case that happened in 2012 in Tunis made a big impression on me. I was struck by the courage of this girl who persisted in suing the policemen [who raped her] and I thought it would make a really good story for a movie.

What about the choice of dividing it into nine chapters, and the thriller element you chose to insert?

I wanted to shoot in long takes, so every chapter is one take. …

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