Under the Fig Trees
Tunisia’s official entry for the Oscars.
On a hot summer day, a crew of workers — men and women, young and old — arrive at dawn at a picturesque fig orchard in northwest Tunisia. We eavesdrop, through the sun-dappled leaves of the fig trees, on the young women stealing away precious moments from the foreman’s watchful gaze. Meanwhile, the older women, tasked with the careful job of packing the tender fruit, watch and reminisce together as well. They joke, argue, debate, gossip, flirt, all the while painting an unhurried but riveting portrait of everyday life in the rural society, where class, gender, and circumstance often don’t allow for such personal freedoms. Set over the course of a single day, and with a cast made up of an intergenerational ensemble of non-professional actors, Under the Fig Trees is “an elegant, understated tapestry of complex interactions [and] a pleasurable and immersive experience” (The Hollywood Reporter) that ultimately reveals the ways in which sisterhood itself becomes an act of resistance. (Erige Sehiri, 2022, Tunisia, 1:33, NR)