Screencap from the film's trailer, April 19, 2018 – Youtube/ oscopelabs
CAIRO – 19 April 2018: French/Tunisian drama "Beauty and the Dogs" (Aala Kaf Ifrit) will be screening at Zamalek Cinema on Tuesday, April 24, as part of the Cairo Cinema Days festival.
From documentary to filmmaking, Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania puts in impressive work with her feature film debut, using experimental cinematic techniques to tell a true story of a young woman raped by policemen; she finds herself faced with the awkward task of reporting this crime to the police. The film is based on a non-fictional book titled "Guilty of Having Been Raped", published in 2013. In a society where women enjoy less freedoms then men and face aggression they can't easily fight against, Hania explores just how much privilege male points of views hold in patriarchal societies.
The film is divided into nine chapters with the use of one long fluid shot always close to the characters, set across one long, horrible night for Mariam (Mariam al Ferjani), a young university student. She had been attending a party she helped to organize when she meets the handsome Youssef, (Ghanem Zrelli), who sweeps her off her feet and seems destined to make the night magical.
Unfortunately for Mariam, it becomes unforgettable for far too unpleasant reasons; a cut to the next chapter shows Mariam running away, make-up streaming down her face. It quickly becomes apparent that Mariam has been raped by several policemen. Youssef attempts to get her help by finding a clinic, but Mariam's hardships continue as she is rejected for not having an ID, which she had lost in the police car during the incident. Worse still, the attendant can only remark on Mariam's dress as if to blame her for what happened.
Thus begins Hania's criticism of Tunisia's bureaucratic system, with Mariam sent through office to office, dealing with high-ranking officers willing to look after their own and constant misogynistic comments, a reminder of how little her suffering matters in the eyes of the men high on top.
"Beauty and the Dogs" was first released during the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the "Un Certain Regard" award.