Photo courtesy of FilmAffinity film page
CAIRO – 14 January 2018: “Hedi” (2016) directed by Mohamed bin Attia is scheduled to screen at the African Cinema Club in Cinema El-Hanager, as organized by the Luxor African Film Festival. The screening was previously scheduled to take place on January 13, but is now confirmed for Saturday.
This is not the first time for “Hedi” to show in Egypt, as the film made its Egyptian debut in the 6th annual Luxor African Film Festival in 2017 where it won the award for Best Artistic Achievement.
“Hedi” is the story of a young Tunisian man named Hedi, struggling to find himself in the relationships he shares and in his work. Although the film is known as “Hedi”, its Arabic title is “Inhebek Hedi” which translates to “We like you calm”. The Arabic title reflects Hedi’s interactions with his environment and within his relationships, where he is expected to accept his circumstances and the decisions made for him.
The film discusses the changing and uncertain role of Tunisian men in their communities after the Tunisian revolution of 2011. Hedi, representing the lost and aimless men, needs to adapt to the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Mohamed bin Attia comments on this parallel in an interview with Variety: “Today we don’t expect much of a man other than that he succeeds in his studies, finds a job and establishes a family, a model of success that is beginning to suffocate and weaken him.”
Hedi’s life is dictated by his mother, who, although obviously caring for her son, is overbearing and controlling. In a way, she represents the demands of the state and society of Tunisia in the years following the revolution.
In the film, Hedi is supposed to marry his fiancé of two years, though he is obviously unenthused about the prospect; his mother has organized the marriage and pushed him toward the decision. A week before his wedding, Hedi falls in love with a free spirited woman named Rym, who shows him the value of his dreams and inspires him to take charge of his life. The film captivatingly portrays the newly found passion and inspiration of Hedi in the form of “freedom”.
In the same interview with Variety, director Mohamed bin Attia describes Hedi’s story as being a reflection of the learning journey that Tunisian men need to undergo to understand their new role after the revolution; “Just like Hedi, the day after the revolution, we thought that everything would be possible, and quickly. We were immersed in a sort of naiveté. Just like lovers, we believed that we were strong and invulnerable. Today, we’ve learned a bit more about ourselves, and we continue to learn.”
“Hedi” stars Majd Mastoura as Hedi, Rym bin Messaoud as Rym, Sabah Bouzouita as Baya, and Hakim Boumsaodi as Ahmed. The film has won a number of awards and earned nominations at various festivals and events. Its wins include the Best First Feature Award and the Silver Berlin Award at the Berlin Film Festival, among others.