Les Filles d'Olfa, de Kaouther Ben Hania

5 min

Four Daughters, by Kaouther Ben Hania

With Four Daughters, her fourth feature film, Kaouther Ben Hania creates an original cinematographic device mixing documentary and fiction. Through the portrait of a Tunisian mother faced with the disappearance of her two eldest daughters, she examines a Tunisian society haunted by patriarchy and underlying violence. In official competition at the Cannes 2023 Festival with this film, Kaouther Ben Hania was supported by the Institut français' La Fabrique Cinéma for Beauty and the Dogs in 2015. 


A filmmaker who questions gender relations

Tunisian director and screenwriter Kaouther Ben Hania studied at the Tunis School of Arts and Cinema from 2002 to 2004. During these years, she directed several short films, including La Brèche, before training at La Fémis. In 2007, she resumed her studies at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle University in Paris and began work on three feature films. In 2014, she directed Le Challat de Tunis, a social satire on relations between men and women, followed by Beauty and the Dogs, in 2017, selected in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. With her third film, The Man Who Sold His Skin, she was selected for the Oscars in 2021. Two years later, her fourth film, Four Daughters, was screened in official competition at the Cannes Festival. 


A unique cinematographic approach

Four Daughters follows the daily life of Olfa, a Tunisian mother of four daughters who has to cope with the disappearance of her two eldest girls. To fill the void left by their absence, director Kaouther Ben Hania invites professional actresses to take their place, creating an original cinematographic device. Using this concept, she begins a retelling of the story of Olfa and her daughters. The film becomes a journey into the intimacy of a family, combining hope, rebellion and violence, but also transmission and sisterhood. 


A portrait of a family torn apart

In Four Daughters, Kaouther Ben Hania tells the story of how and why the two eldest daughters of a Tunisian mother disappear without a trace. In this skilful and original blend of documentary and fiction, she breaks the fourth wall to create a deeply moving portrait of a family torn apart. By inviting the viewer into the intimate lives of these women, Kaouther Ben Hania paints a complex and tortured picture of a Tunisian society haunted by its ills. From patriarchy to recurring male violence, she narrates the inevitable revolution in a production that is both exciting and moving. 


Success at Cannes

Selected in official competition at the Cannes Festival 2023, Four Daughters has been sold to over twenty-five countries around the world. The Institut français de Tunisie supported the film's actors at Cannes. It was jointly awarded the Œil d'Or for documentary, along with The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir. It also won the Prix de la Citoyenneté, presided over by Maria de Medeiros, as well as the Prix de la 8e Semaine du Cinéma Positif, and a special mention from the jury of the 27th Prix François-Chalais. 

The Institut français and Kaouther Ben Hania

L'Homme qui a vendu sa peauLa Belle et la meute and Le Challat de Tunis are screened internationally by the Institut français. 

The Institut français offers a catalogue of over 2,500 titles, enabling the French cultural network and its partners to screen French films around the world. Discover IFcinema