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Tunisia, 2001 (MIFF 2002, International Panorama)

Director: Raja Amari

"Lilia has lived an increasingly lonely existence since the death of her husband. Her teenage daughter, Salma, is always at school, or out with friends, leaving her mother to eat her meals alone ... and obsessively dust and clean the house. All that changes when she goes to see Salma at her dancing class and suspects, rightly, that her daughter has a thing going with a musician, Chokri. One evening she sees Chokri in the street and follows him to the cabaret nightclub where he works.

"This brings her in contact with a world she'd never known, a world in which ample women perform belly dances for enthusiastic, mostly male, audiences. Lilia finds herself strangely attracted to the place, and before long has befriended Folia, one of the dancers, and is trying on scanty, sequined costumes herself. And then she's dancing on the stage with ever increasing abandon.

"Tunisian films have always been in the forefront of permissiveness in Arab cinema, and Red Satin is no exception. The story is handled with confidence and a gentle sense of humour that's most attractive." - David Stratton, Variety

Raja Amari (born in Tunisia, 1971) worked as a film critic for the Tunis-based Cinécrits magazine, and studied at FEMIS film academy in Paris until 1998. She received summa cum laude honours for the screenplay of Red Satin, her final thesis project in screenwriting.

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