Moufida Tlatli's remarkable debut describes the days of slavery in her native Tunisia. At 25, Alia, a singer and lute-player, who is pregnant by her boyfriend, learns of the death of Prince Sidi Ali. This prompts a visit to his palace, giving rise to memories of her own and her mother's days of service there years ago. The film captures the texture of life in the palace - its gardens, its fading opulence, the kitchens, corridors and ante-rooms, all lit crystal clear. There are scenes of group activity (dyeing, washing, dancing, singing), but the dominating mood is of the monotony and soul-threatening burden of servitude. The prince exercised his droit du seigneur: an indignity which would drive Alia's mother to near-frenzy - had not her life been so focused on the interests of her 15-year-old daughter. A most memorable account of the complex relationship between mothers and daughters suffering the distortions of injustice.
Cast and crew