TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Four Daughters’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2023 by - September 07, 2023
TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Four Daughters’

Some moments in Four Daughters start out beautifully, like one when Olfa (Hend Sabry) reaches out to one of her daughters. But as that moment goes on, tenderness turns into violence, like tough love going too far. We see that tough love differently as the docudrama reenacts the story of Olfa’s two daughters joining Daesh.

There’s a scene in Four Daughters that shows how much it succeeds at aiming for larger truths. That scene is when the actress playing the second eldest daughter, Rahma (Nour Karoui), tells the real Olfa that the latter will burn in hell for not wearing a burqa. There are so many levels to that scene. I can imagine a child telling their parent that they will burn in hell is a hellish experience for a parent. But it also made me realize how much this moment is a part of a bigger history. We know what Daesh is but most people in the West will never understand it.

In Four Daughters, director Kaouther Ben Hania plays with a bigger canvas that she did with Beauty and the Dogs, She didn’t delve into the actresses’ relationship with Daesh, if any. The actresses handle the material with sensitivity. But at the end of the day, their lines are just lines to them. We hope that the actors never experience with Olfa does, but with that is a barrier between two groups. There’s hearing about history as it unfolds, and living it in all its pain.

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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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