Cinefranco 2018: Our Review of ‘Beauty and the Dogs’

Cinefranco 2018: Our Review of ‘Beauty and the Dogs’

Mariam (Mariam Al Ferjani) wears a dress sexy enough to make her feel uncomfortable. But it’s also good enough to attract to attract a stranger in a club that she has a crush on. There’s an energy, ebbing and flowing as Beauty and the Dogs depicts the two strangers meeting.

Little does Mariam know that she and that stranger, Youssef (Ghanem Zrelli), will experience the scariest nights of their lives. A night that the movie carefully tells through chapters made of long takes.

The movie cuts between Mariam and Youssef’s encounter in the club to the streets where he chases her. Thankfully, it omits the worst thing that ever happened to the both of them.

Mariam and Youssef were having a walk on the beach that may have been an innocent one. But a police officer restrains him while two more officers take sexual advantage of her.

This leads Youssef to convince Mariam to report the incident, leading her to hospitals and police stations. The film visually captures those places’ hostility towards regular citizens, people like her.

This is writer and director Kaouther Ben Hania’s first conventional narrative feature, adapting it from from a true story. And it deftly shows how men want to decide Mariam’s fate. Whether it’s the corrupt police, its few good apples or Youssef himself.

The audience has to consider the film’s cultural context, a product of Tunisia after the revolution that overthrew its president. Despite the new regimes, old ways linger both in the foreground and in the background. We also hear it with the way characters speak.

The film, with its cynicism, has many assets. One of them is Ben Hania’s great use of iconography that’s familiar to international and local audiences. She turns Mariam from a victimized Virgin Mary into a superhero.


  • Release Date: 10/6/2018
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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