In his first film “Hedi: a Wind of Freedom” Mohamed Ben Attia shows us what life is like for young Tunisians after the Arab Spring. Lives which are caught between the desire to live and the weight of conventions, like the young man who has to go through an arranged marriage.
One look is enough to understand how Hedi is under pressure. He is in control of nothing.
Neither his work as a car salesman which he does not enjoy, nor his marriage arranged by his omnipotent mother. It seems only a matter of time before it comes to the surface for him.
This is precisely what happens when his employer sends him to look for new clients at the seaside resort Mahdia where he meets the sparkling Rim, who works as a host in a hotel complex for the few tourists who still visit.
Hedi falls in love, madly, feels the wind of freedom and must for the first time make decisions alone.
The acting of Majd Mastouras, restrained and at the same time extremely tense is deeply touching. His performance deservedly won him a Silver Bear for best actor at the Berlinale in 2016.
“Hedi” was also awarded the prize for the best first film. The realistic, intransigent images recall the style of the Belgian directors and brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne who were co-producers.
The movie is a promising start and raises expectations for other films from this Tunisian director.