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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.


Moufida Tlatli
7 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Hind Sabri ... Alia / Young (as Hend Sabri)
Ghalya Lacroix Ghalya Lacroix ... Alia / singer (as Ghalia Lacroix)
Nejia Ouerghi Nejia Ouerghi ... Khalti Hadda (as Najia Ouerghi)
Amel Hedhili Amel Hedhili ... Khedija / Alia's mother
Kamel Fazaa Kamel Fazaa ... Sid' Ali / prince
Sabah Bouzouita ... Schema / serrvant
Sonia Meddeb Sonia Meddeb ... Jneina / Sid' Ali's wife
Hélène Catzaras Hélène Catzaras ... Fella / serrvant
Fatma Ben Saïdane Fatma Ben Saïdane ... Mroubia
Michket Krifa Michket Krifa ... Memia
Hichem Rostom Hichem Rostom ... Si Bechir / prince
Kamel Touati Kamel Touati ... Houssine / male servant
Zahira Ben Ammar Zahira Ben Ammar ... Habiba / serrvant
Sami Bouajila ... Lofti / Alia's lover
Hatem Berrabeh Hatem Berrabeh ... Salim / Sid' Ali's son


Set in 1950s Tunisia, a 25-year-old woman, Alia, returns to her place of birth-a prince's palace in which her mother, Khedija, worked as a house servant and mistress of prince Sid' Ali. She had fled the palace ten years earlier, at which time she spent burying tortured memories of her childhood. In her visit to pay respects for the death of the prince, she wanders through the largely abandoned palace where she is confronted by these memories represented as detailed flashbacks of her childhood. She begins to piece together a narrative about her mother's sexuality and sexual exploitation in a space ordered by gender and class difference, and is re-awakened to her persistent questioning about her father's identity. As she negotiates her past, she also deals with her current relationship to her lover, Lotfi, who has asked her to have another abortion. Her development throughout the film contrasts her awakening to a past of sexual and social servitude which many of the female servants ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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User Reviews

Silence strucks
13 July 1999 | by merijaloSee all my reviews

This film is a gateway to Tunisian culture as it was when the country became independent. The principal character is a young girl who lives in a palace, but she is not a princess. In fact, her mother is some kind of a slave who works there without beeing paid for it and having any chance to get out of the palace. She doesn't want to tell her daughter, who her father is. Outside, the country is aiming to get loose of the French power. This is a story about strong women who live and work together and take care of each other. They are not beautiful like the American or European film stars, but still somehow sexy and very feminine. They are afraid of their sexuality, because they cannot control the desire it awakes in the powerful men around them. Their only hope to get out of the palace is marriage, but very few men see them inside the walls of the palace. One could think that the movie is very pessimistic. In the contary, the love of the women and of music create an atmosphere of hope and the new generation has a possibility to choose...

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Tunisia | France


Arabic | French

Release Date:

7 September 1994 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Samt el Koussour See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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