Mehdi Barsaoui’s tense and tightly scripted melodrama makes for a stunning debut feature and subverts our expectations. Films about terrorist attacks are usually set in non-Arab countries so this brave attempt to stage a terror attack in a Muslim country show courage and innovation on the part of this Tunisian director, and won him the Orizzonti award for best director at Venice 2019.
Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia.co.uk
Tangled family affairs become increasingly politically and morally loaded as this assured and gripping debut feature from Mehdi Barsaoui progresses. It is the law of movies that when a family are enjoying themselves in a car, it almost always heralds – and that holds true here, as a moment of joyful singing along to Gregorius by Si Lemhaf by middle-class couple Fares (Sami Bouajila) and Meriem (Najla Ben Abdallah) and their 11-year-old son Aziz (Youssef Khemiri) is shattered by a bullet. There are similarities to Asghar Farhadi in the subtle way Barsaoui explores the emotional fallout in the family as a bloodied trip to the emergency rooms ends with Aziz in intensive care requiring a liver transplant and a family secret being revealed but he has his own distinctive voice.
Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film