The story beyond “El Jaida”



Sat, 02 Dec 2017 - 11:54 GMT


Sat, 02 Dec 2017 - 11:54 GMT

Salma Baccar during the seminar – Photo Courtesy of Rana Atef

Salma Baccar during the seminar – Photo Courtesy of Rana Atef

CAIRO – 2 December 2017: Directed and written by the prominent Tunisian director Salma Baccar and starring Souhir Ben Amara and Khaled Houissa, "El Jaida" is a Tunisian film focusing on four ladies sent to Bait Jiwad.

Biat Jiwad is a place similar to prison where women who disobey their husbands are sent. The events of the film take place in the 1950s, before Personal Statues Laws were established.

The film discussed many controversial social issues such as marriage and inheritance.
Released in 2017, the film was screened for the first time in the Carthage International Film Festival.

During a seminar held at the Headquarters of Egypt Today on Monday, cast members of the Tunisian film discussed many issues related to the filmmaking, elaborating on the controversies that caused outrage in the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF).

"My main target was echoing Tunisian women's position in the 1950s, before issuing personal status laws. Moreover, I needed to recall different images of women from the Tunisian collective memory," Baccar explained.

Although she had started writing the film in 2007, Baccar re-wrote the film in 2016 to account for the socio-political changes within the Tunisian society, Baccar tells Egypt Today.

"The Tunisian scene is like a big family, all actors and actresses cooperate with each other, so I did not find difficulty in choosing cast members," Baccar explained.

Tunisian actress Souhir Ben Amara talked about film shooting, "Baccar is so modest and humble in dealing with cast members; she acts as a mother."

Souhir Ben Amara during the seminar – Photo Courtesy of Rana Atef

She continued, "I tried to exert the required efforts for this challenging role…the role was so challenging to me because it is a combination of joy and sorrow," Amara added.

Souhir Ben Amara during the seminar – Photo Courtesy of Rana Atef

Criticizing Tunisian men’s personalities, the film represents four masculine stereotypes taken from the Tunisian society, according to Khaled Houissa.

Houissa during the seminar – Photo Courtesy of Rana Atef

Discussing the position of woman, Baccar clarified that Tunisian women still suffer from outdated customs and traditions. "A woman meets hatred and rejection if she [brakes] the inherited social taboos," she said.

Commenting on the film's participation in CIFF, Baccar acknowledged that although the film screening led to some arguments, it received positive feedback from the Egyptian audience.



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