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Meet the Tunisian director whose film is making waves at the Cannes Film Festival

Euronews speaks with Kaouther Ben Hania whose Palme d’Or nominated film ‘Four Daughters’ has Cannes talking… and thinking.

At the Cannes Film Festival, Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania causes a storm. The Oscar-nominated director is in the running for this year’s Palme d’Or with her film “Four Daughters.”

Speaking to Euronews, she described how she felt rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry.

“I was, not thrilled, but overjoyed when I was announced as being in official competition, and when I learned the names of the other directors, Ken Loach, Wes Anderson, Wim Wenders… it’s just crazy what’s happening to me and I’m very happy to be here,” she explained.

Set against the backdrop of the “Jasmine Revolution” that toppled Tunisian President Ben Ali in 2011, “Four Daughters” blends fiction and reality to tell the story of Olfa, a mother who watched two of her daughters join the Islamic State.

“I found it fascinating to see how the story of Olfa and her daughters, the little story is linked to the great history of Tunisia, how the Revolution (of 2011) affected their lives – moreover Olfa the said at one point-“, it was the Revolution I wanted to make my revolution too, to divorce my husband, to leave… “Freedom, that’s it.”

The film links real testimonies and re-enacted scenes involving Olfa and her two younger daughters with professional actresses.

The result is the sensitive narrative of a unique tale made possible by a film crew made up mostly of women.

“When we started filming, or at least the preparation, I wanted to choose a very feminine team, and even the men who were on the set, I wanted them to be “women’s friendly” as they say, because I knew that I was going to take everyone into an intimate confession, something very therapeutic, very introspective and very feminine about Olfa, her daughters, their stories, but also the actresses. It was very important to have a safe space where everyone was empathetic, non-judgmental.”

21 films are in competition for this year’s Palme d’Or – which will be awarded on Saturday 27 May.

euronews Gt

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