When driving home from southern Tunisia, Fares and Meriem's car is hit by a stray bullet during an ambush by an armed group; their young son Aziz's liver is punctured. At a local hospital, the need for a transplant uncovers a secret that risks Aziz's life should a donor not be found in time. But this is only the beginning of the unexpected twists in a story so deftly crafted that it offers both a probing look at Tunisian society's anchored social and legal realities, and an unshakable need to ask yourself what you would do in the same situation. As their world falls apart, the subtleties of the couple's shifting emotions are handled masterfully, heralding Mehdi Barsaoui as a bold new talent to watch.Written by
London Film Festival
Things take a virulently political turn in Un Fils (A Son) even though the father character utters in the first five minutes of this drama that he is not interested in politics. But that is exactly what the director wants to convey in this slow-paced investigative thriller which puts a Tunisian mother-father duo into a deep struggle when their son meets with an accident and is required an urgent liver transplantation, all at the light of political turmoil in the country. That politics takes interest in you and even travels with you inside your car when you are with your family even if you don't want it to. It is a story about the search for the truth where the characters are entirely human and capable of mistakes and where eventful pasts have now come back to haunt in the worst ways possible. A Son dwells on long shots and lots of symbolism where it puts the focus on the child and then erects mountains that are peaked by figures of mother and father. And then it asks you to do some guesswork until the climax which is slightly off the mark when you compare it with the first two acts. Charming performances by the actors and a passable depiction of familial struggle in times of medical crisis makes A Son a good watch. But not a great one due to a lack of technicalities, novelty, and a general sense of uneventfulness throughout. +1 for Tunisian cinema in 2019. TN.
(Watched and reviewed at its India premiere at the 21st MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.)
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