Review: ‘Bedwin Hacker’

Enterprisingly offbeat, ambitious first feature by French-Tunisian writer-helmer Nadia El Fani presents a very different picture of North African womanhood from the screen norm. Heroine here is an urbane bisexual computer whiz who hacks into European TV frequencies to broadcast pro-Arab messages. Curiosity value may spark further fest dates.

An enterprisingly offbeat, ambitious first feature by French-Tunisian writer-helmer Nadia El Fani, “Bedwin Hacker” presents a very different picture of North African womanhood from the screen norm. Heroine here is an urbane bisexual computer whiz who hacks into European TV frequencies to broadcast pro-Arab messages. However, the fresh female spin fritters away much of its conceptual appeal via dullish presentation and uncharismatic perfs. Curiosity value may spark further fest dates; fringe TV sales are possible.

Surprise, untraceable appearances in various public media by cartooned camel “Bedwin Hacker” (a deliberate misspelling of Bedouin) are driving the French authorities nuts. Are they the workings of an lone prankster? Secret service agent Julia (Muriel Solvay) is determined to find out. Meanwhile, her journalist b.f. Chams (Tomer Sisley) is unwittingly lured into friendship and more with the hacker herself — cocksure Kalt (Sonia Hamza), who uses her hacking skills to lead a secret network of activists in southern Tunisia. Vid-shot pic bogs down fast in too much talk, flat staging, obvious budget limitations, far-fetched plot devices, and lack of chemistry between leads. Lively soundtrack choices help.

Bedwin Hacker

Morocco - Tunisia - France

Production

An Orisha Distribution presentation of a 2M Soread, Canal Plus Horizons, Tunisian Television, Z'Yeux Nois Movies production. Produced by Nadia and Bechir El Fani. Directed, written by Nadia El Fani.

Crew

Camera (color, video-to-35mm), Tarek Ben Abdallah; editor, Claude Reznick; music, Amina Annabi, Milton Edouard; production designer, Hakem Miladi. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 8, 2003. French and Arabic dialogue. Runing time: 103 MIN.

With

Sonia Hamza, Muriel Solvey, Tomer Sisley, Nadia Saiji, Xavier Desplas, Alberto Canova.

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