Sonia Ben Slama
Lebanon, Tunisia, France, Qatar | 2023 | 82 min
Language : Arabic
Subtitles : English, French
Mahdia, Tunisia. Fatma and her daughters, Najeh and Waffeh, work as “machtat”, traditional musicians who play at wedding ceremonies. Their music evokes love and its promises, but the reality is much more complex and painful. Between illusions and disillusionment, Machtat is a powerful and liberating portrait of three women asserting their voices.
Mahdia, Tunisia. Fatma and her daughters, Najeh and Waffeh, work as 'machtat'. During the summer, they animate wedding ceremonies with their traditional music that evokes love and its promises. But their reality is much more complex and painful. Waffeh has to deal with a violent husband, while divorcee Najeh is manipulated by her suitor. Franco-Tunisian director Sonia Ben Slama closely follows the intricate relationship of this trio of close-knit women. Their songs resound in unison, like a release from the stifling power of the patriarchy. By keeping the men out of the picture, the filmmaker invites us into an exclusively female circle. Only children are allowed in, implicitly raising the question of the family model they will inherit. By skilfully interweaving the dual aspects of the lives of these ‘machtat’ – the spectacular representation of marriage versus the reality of the women’s daily lives – she raises powerful questions about the place of women in the patriarchal institution of marriage. Between illusions and disillusionment, Machtat is a powerful emancipatory portrait of three women asserting their voices.
Filmmakers or researchers from UNIL will take you on a walk through the streets of Nyon to delve into and deepen your appreciation of this film’s subject. Balade avec Sonia Ben Slama, réalisatrice de Machtat