Tyro helmer Hinde Boujemaa’s “It Was Better Tomorrow” offers a new take on the Tunisian revolution, sidelining the upheaval to concentrate on a confrontational woman looking for rent-free digs for herself and her kids. Boujemaa doesn’t try to make Aida Kaabi appealing, yet the director seems unaware of the camera’s impact, not just on her subject but those around her. Consequently, mutual manipulation goes unacknowledged, and auds are left with an unsatisfying portrait of a disagreeable, self-pitying harridan and her mentally disturbed son. Streaming sites will be her likely home.
In the revolution’s early days, Kaabi and son Faouzi are about to be evicted from their squalid one-room dwelling, so she takes advantage of the country’s turmoil by breaking into apartments left empty by fleeing multinationals. Unstable kleptomaniac Faouzi is difficult to control, though Kaabi’s no piece of cake either, plus she’s got one kid at her ex’s and two in an orphanage. Her goal is to all live together, but she can’t hold a job, and stints in jail (claiming innocence) for mother and son hinder any reunion. The camera’s presence unquestionably precipitates or tempers behavior.