A Son is set in 2011, a few months after the Tunisian revolution. We meet Farés, Meriem and their young son Aziz, an upper middle-class family. During a trip to the village, the family ends up stuck in a military crossfire, and Aziz is hit by a bullet. Upon their arrival at the hospital, it becomes clear that Aziz is severely injured and in need of a transplantation in order to survive. As the waitlist is too long, the only alternative is an illegal liver transplantation from Libya, another country at the dawn of revolution. The tragedy triggers revelations of deeply kept family secrets and threatens the marriage of Farés and Meriem.
With his debut film, director Mehdi M. Barsaoui has created a solid drama with thriller elements, and he is clever to use the onset of the Arab Spring as a thematic backdrop to convey something intimate and difficult about family relations. Actor Sami Bouajila brilliantly displays the complexity in his character Farés, balancing a tough exterior with vulnerability as the family secrets comes to light. Najla Ben Abdallah, in the role of Meriem, conveys the bottomless despair of a mother, who is determined to save her son no matter what the consequences are. The overall result is a tremendously intelligent and intriguing film.
Mehdi M. Barsaoui will be present for Q&As after the screening of A Son on Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19.
Mehdi M. Barsaoui (b. 1984) is born and raised in Tunisia. He has studied at the university in the capital Tunis, and has his film education from Bologna, Italy. He has previously directed three short films: Khallina Hakka Khir, We Are Just Fine Like This and Bobby. A Son is his first feature film.
Original title Bik Eneich - Un Fils
Director Mehdi M. Barsaoui
Screenplay Mehdi Barsaoui
Cinematography Antoine Héberlé
Producer Marc Irmer, Habib Attia
Cast Sami Bouajila, Najla Ben Abdallah, Youssef Khemiri
Production Company Dolce Vita Films, Cinetelefilms
Runtime 1h 36m