4 Oct 20178:45 pm | Cinema 1 |
BFI Film Festival: 243 features. 67 countries. 15 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
Bold and defiant, Kaouther Ben Hania’s fiction debut, based on real events, presents a pointed questioning of patriarchal systems, systemic corruption and the narrative of victimhood.
Nine single-take sequences follow Miriam over the course of one night. It begins benignly enough at a university fundraising event, where she catches the eye of a handsome new face. The second sequence sees the man pursuing her, his intentions unclear. Miriam next appears dishevelled and petrified. She has just been raped by several policemen. And so a bureaucratic nightmare begins, as Miriam and the man attempt to obtain a medical or police statement in order to report the crime.
The film offers sharp social commentary on the agency of a rape victim – questioned rather than believed, engaged in a maddening cycle of victimising behaviour. Miriam’s defiance reveals the manipulation of stigma against her and the underlying systemic corruption, but also the power that she has to resist.
(Notes by Elhum Shakerifar)
Beauty and the Dogs, dir Kaouther Ben Hania, Tunisia-France-Sweden 2017, 100 mins