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November 11 2018 Drama Movies Newsletter

"Since the revolution, Tunisia has been a country under construction. It's a young democracy, where freedom of expression is practiced daily. This freedom has allowed a new generation of directors to emerge who dare to create films with great originality, as shown by their recent presence at the major festivals. However, there's still much work to be done at the political and legal levels to support this bubbling excitement and finance these talented individuals to create true continuity in Tunisian film production."
Filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania

"Beauty and the Dogs", Ben Hania's third feature film and the subject of this week's review, is a film about the physical and psychological coercion used by those in power. While the film is set in Tunisia, its underlying theme about the consequences of authoritarianism and unchecked abuses is universal.

Ben Hania will be in attendance at the Cairo Film Festival, which runs November 20th through the 29th. 2018. The festival is devoting a special section to Arab female directors and Ben Hania will be in attendance to discuss her work. The festival is opening, however, with an American film - Peter Farrelly's "Green Book" starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen.

"Green Book" takes place in the American South during the 1960s and race is obviously an issue in the film. Mortensen, during a public discussion this week, used the N-word in full and has issued an apology. He used the word as an example of hate speech that is no longer tolerated and said, in part, "Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context...I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again.” The film will be in theaters on November 21st.

Awards season is almost upon us and the European Film Awards announced their nominations this week. I have to single out Sverrir Gudnason, who is nominated in the Best Actor category. Gudnason played Bjorn Borg in Janus Metz's "Borg vs. McEnroe" (my review is posted on the Drama Movies Site). Gudnason's performance is one of my favorites from this past year, as well. Rather than do a shallow impression, Gudnason focused on Borg's emotional core. Gudnason perceptively noted that when Borg was being interviewed at the height of his fame, there was a look in his eyes that "I could understand as him wanting to be somewhere else."

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

Beauty and the Dogs Film Review
Writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania fashions a powerful indictment of police corruption that occurs in the midst of Tunisia's Arab Spring. Newcomer Mariam Al Ferjani plays a sexual assault victim who refuses to be silenced.


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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor

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