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Sweet and Bitter

The first feature shot by Tunisian helmer Naceur Ktari since his 1976 "The Ambassadors" won a Gold Tanit at Carthage, "Sweet and Bitter" is a disappointing revisitation of the old tale about a theater director in search of an actress/play/reason for living. Failing to find a naturalistic tone, pic teeters on the edge of involuntary comedy, a weakness that was apparent to auds at its Tunisian premier. Pic is also known under a French title, "Sois mon amie" (Be My Friend).

The first feature shot by Tunisian helmer Naceur Ktari since his 1976 “The Ambassadors” won a Gold Tanit at Carthage, “Sweet and Bitter” is a disappointing revisitation of the old tale about a theater director in search of an actress/play/reason for living. Failing to find a naturalistic tone, pic teeters on the edge of involuntary comedy, a weakness that was apparent to auds at its Tunisian premier. Pic is also known under a French title, “Sois mon amie” (Be My Friend).

Slah (Nourreddine El Ati) is a respected stage helmer who has just spent a year in a mental hospital. With the saintly support of his rich wife, he starts rehearsing the most difficult play he can find. A free-thinking girl he runs over in his car turns out to be the perfect lead. The trio, which never quite turns into a triangle, daringly sojourns in the desert together, occasioning an exotic, if gratuitous, Bedouin dance scene. Ktari’s controlled camera offers strong, bold shots of these modern characters, including a surprising nude shower scene, without making them in the least believable. Lotfi Bouchnak’s music is pic’s major asset.

Sweet and Bitter

Tunisia - France

  • Production: An Imago Prod. (Tunisia)/Les Film sur la Place (France) production. (International sales: Imago, El Manar II, Tunisia.) Directed, written by Naceur Ktari.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Georges Le Chaptois, Xavier Tauveron; editor, Yves Comte, Labri Ben Ali; music, Lotfi Bouchnak. Reviewed at Carthage Film Days (competing), Tunisia, Oct. 23, 2000. Original Arabic title: Halou u mer. Running time: 91 MIN.
  • With: <B>With:</B> Nourreddine El Ati, Ines Baili, Sonia El Ati, Lamine Nahdi, Zouheir Bornaz, Jelloul Jelassi, Belkis Cheriaa.