Skip to main content

HALFAOUINE - CHILD OF THE TERRACES

France, 1990 (MIFF 1991)

Director: Ferid Boughedir

Long regarded as North Africa's leading film critic, Ferid Boughedir must now be considered one of the region's leading filmmakers on the basis of this, his first feature, which has already collected a swag of international awards and enjoyed enormous popular success in Tunisia and France.

The tender, relaxed story of a lad's sexual awakening breaks new ground for Tunisian cinema. Its explicit female nudity and inherent sensuality will probably get it banned in most Arab countries.

Noura is a 12-year-old curious about the facts of life, Because he's small for his age, his mother still gets him into the ladies' Turkish baths where huge, Feilini-esque women stroll half-naked through the stream. Childhood and sexuality are not familiar themes in Arab films. Halfaouine breaks the taboos, certainly not just filmic, to show naked women in a land of veils. Further, it insists female sexuality is natural and uninhibited. Beneath the veils are real flesh-and-blood women with an enviably healthy attitude towards their bodies.

Set in the old Arab quarter of Tunis called Halfaouine, the film captures the flavour of the colourful old Arab city several decades ago, yet presents a new image of Tunisia. More than a Muslim society, it seems .to be a free-thinking, laughing Mediterranean country, warm with eroticism. Continually surprising and amusing, Halfaouine is a delight to watch from start to finish.

See also...

Homage to the Yaghans

Only a handful of the Yaghan people are now alive, the last of the Indians who inhabited the southern tip of South America. These brave sea-faring people could survive the hardships of a cold and ... More »

NO FEAR, NO DIE

One of Denis' most controversial films, this study of Parisian cock-fight handlers alienated some viewers with its unflinching (and clearly well-researched) depiction of a vicious sport ... More »

La Nouvelle

Subtitles are not required for this satire on news tattling in a small community. The dialogue, if not the shaggy dog ending, would dismay Disney. (F.F) ... More »

The Man of Tautavel

Twenty years of painstaking research has now unveiled the time, the environment, the climate, the habitation and the cultural setting of the Man of Tautavel. The Tautavel Grotto in France is an ... More »

Valentino, I Love You!

A spirited and witty spoof, re-staging the hysteria of the American suspense thriller in terms of its formal and narrative cliches . (FF) ... More »

Letter From Childhood

The amazing and involving story of a young Algerian woman with mutiple sclerosis, Letter from Childhood uses a mixture of ethnographic observation, reconstruction and personal reminiscence to tell ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director