As French colonial rule unravels in Tunisia, Paul is having an affair with nightclub singer Betty. An Arab teenager develops a crush on her. It seems he's Paul illegitimate son. As the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Zigou
...
Wanis
Ida Di Benedetto ...
Mariam
...
Slim
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Betty Rivière
...
Paul Rivière
Polli Magaro ...
Alice
Sofiane Ouissi ...
Wanis (Young)
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Storyline

As French colonial rule unravels in Tunisia, Paul is having an affair with nightclub singer Betty. An Arab teenager develops a crush on her. It seems he's Paul illegitimate son. As the boy's attraction with his father's mistress goes out of bounds the friction between the Tunisians and the French also intensifies. Written by Anonymous

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4 May 1994 (France)  »

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Secret Obsession  »

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unfortunate
17 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Julie Christie and Ben Gazzara appear in this half-baked drama, directed by Ridha Behi, about the unraveling of French colonial rule in Tunisia. Gazzara plays a man who is involved romantically with a local nightclub singer named Betty Riviere (Christie). An Arab teenager (Patrick Bruel) who hangs around Gazzara's house and develops a crush on Christie is revealed to be Gazzara's illegitimate son from a tryst with a local Arab woman. As the teenager's attraction to the older white woman starts to get out of bounds the friction between the Tunisians and the French is also exploding. The tension builds – and there the film nosedives as if the production had suddenly run out of money and decided to wrap in mid-story. The ending seems hastily thrown together. Gazzara's and Christie's relationship goes nowhere. One can only guess that Behi was trying to explore how the breakup of North African colonial rule played out on the personal level, but one can only guess because what we see here is woefully inconclusive.

There is one interesting scene of Christie lip-synching "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." It's probably the only time she has ever performed a song in a film other than the portion of the folk song "Bushes and Briars" which she sang with her own voice in Far from the Madding Crowd.

This failed film is worth seeing just to watch Christie and Gazzara together and dream of what might have been.


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