7.4/10
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6 user 13 critic

The Silences of the Palace (1994)

Samt el qusur (original title)
As she grows up, Alia (the daughter of housemaid Khedija) learns the secrets of the peaceful palace where she and her mother live.

Director:

Moufida Tlatli
Reviews
7 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amel Hedhili Amel Hedhili ... Khedija
Najia Ouerghi Najia Ouerghi ... Khalti Hadda
Hind Sabri ... Young Alia (as Hend Sabri)
Fatima Ben Saïdane Fatima Ben Saïdane ... Mroubia
Zahira Ben Ammar Zahira Ben Ammar ... Habiba
Sabah Bouzouita Sabah Bouzouita ... Schema
Sonia Meddeb Sonia Meddeb ... La Jneina
Hélène Catzaras Hélène Catzaras ... Fella
Ghalia Lacroix Ghalia Lacroix ... Adult Alia
Michket Krifa Michket Krifa ... Memia
Hichem Rostom Hichem Rostom ... Si Bechir
Kamel Touati Kamel Touati ... Houssine
Kamel Fazaa Kamel Fazaa ... Sid' Ali
Sami Bouajila ... Lofti
Hatem Berrabeh Hatem Berrabeh ... Salim
Edit

Storyline

As Alia, the daughter of a beautiful servant Khedija, grows up in the Kings Palace at the end of the French colonial rule in Tunisia, she realizes the sexual favours required of her mother and other servants. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Tunisia | France

Language:

Arabic | French

Release Date:

7 September 1994 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Silences of the Palace See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Best film ever made in the Arab World
13 December 1999 | by maerteSee all my reviews

The best film ever made in the Arab World really isn't a superlative that would be difficult to attain, but this film is really a masterwork.

Aliya a singer with an superb voice but little success is invited to the palace where she spent her childhood as the daughter of a servant. She never really got to know who her father was, that she has been invited back to the palace after the head of the household, member of the Turkish ruling family of pre-independence Tunisia has died is no accident.

Back in the palace all her childhood memories come back to Alia. She remembers her mother being the concubine of the deceased. His wife was barren, and she becomes sure that she is his daughter.

She also remembers how her love for music helped her to gain prestige in the palace. But the songs she sang were not just entertainment. The melodies of Umm Kulthum were broadcasted by Radio Cairo to spread the message of Arab awakening and the longing for independence. Albeit its political aspects also the ruling family, a puppet on the strings of the French, enjoys the music. But for the masses the songs also become a symbol for the longing for freedom. falls in love with one student who is an independence activist. He is hiding in the palace where his aunt is another servant. He promises her a brilliant future but already at the beginning of the film we are told that the promise was not to be kept.

The film is a ingenious ridiculization of political rhetoric and seldom ever has Oriental music bee integrated in a film so brilliantly (except perhaps Ray's Jalsaghar). You will enjoy it even if Arab music doesn't mean anything to you.


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