Leïla, a 14-year-old girl, lives in Cité Nour - a marginalized and dilapidated neighborhood of a small Tunisian town on the verge of being destroyed. A milieu where religion has a significant place in the daily life of the inhabitants. After performing miracles, Leïla is adorned with several labels by those around her: is she a witch or a saint? Can this strange kid really save the neighborhood?
After the Tunisian revolution of 2011, some of my former classmates left to join the ranks of Daech. Their intense religious conviction made me wonder. When I learned that among these candidates for jihad there were as many women as there were men, a parallel with the figure of Joan of Arc came to mind. The idea of this film is based on this question: What would the life of a Joan of Arc living in our time be - and moreover, one who practises the Muslim faith? I seek to portray a woman who embodies a form of lucid radicalism. Such a figure is rare in cinema; perhaps she does not yet exist. A film about a trial dealing with an issue as sensitive as radical Islam is ambitious but, beyond examining a topical subject, I want to make a film about power - in this case, the power taken by a woman through religion.
Born in Tunisia, Charlie Kouka obtained a diploma in Optics. The desire to create cinema saw her change her life by completing a Master’s degree in film production. She then went to France, where she was admitted to La Fémis, from which she graduated in directing. During her studies, Kouka directed several short films, the most recent of which, Rajâa (The Return), was purchased by Arte.
Unité was created by Bruno Nahon and Caroline Nataf in 2014 with the intent of operating in all forms of media and transmission, to tell the world’s stories. Having produced numerous documentaries, Unité now produces series and cinema with the same desire: to go where others do not. All of Unité’s productions have been selected for series festivals, among them Séries Mania and the Berlinale, and film festivals including those of Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Berlin.
Beginning of 2023, Tunisia
End of 2023
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