A deeply insecure journalist becomes a catalyst for exploring the clash between traditional North African customs and the Westernized mores of a globalized society in Mokhtar Ladjimi’s “The Throne Door.” While occasionally hampered by a lack of dramatic direction, pic boasts an excellent cast of vets and newcomers, plus one especially bold scene that signals the freshman helmer’s refusal to shy away from uncomfortable topics. Pic received special mention at October’s Carthage fest, but censors may make life difficult on regional screens.
Thirty-year-old Hamid (Mohamed Ali Ben Jomaa) is seen as a wastrel by family members scandalized by his unmarried status. He finally agrees to an arranged marriage with the neighbors’ daughter Rym (Anissa Daoud), but on their wedding night Hamid skips off to a friend’s place, where after a frenzied rush of writing he sleeps with his editor Sarah (Amel Djemel). Left alone, the distraught Rym deflowers herself so she can show the bloody sheets to the two families. Despite this daring and powerful moment, Rym herself remains mostly a cypher, and Hamid’s rationalizations are unexplored. Amusing banter between the two families lightens the mood, but screenplay needed tightening.