It’s hard to keep a secret. Especially when you live with your mother. Malik has been enjoying life in France, making a living as an architect and unabashedly hooking up with guys. But when he returns to Tunisia to live with his mother after his father’s death, he keeps getting bogged down in lies about his sexuality. Good thing hot handyman Bilal is there to pull him out of the closet — and straight into bed, where Malik’s mother Sara finds them sleeping.
While Sara struggles to face the truth she’s denied, a flashback reveals that Malik’s father knew his son’s secret all along. The titular string refers to the apron strings that Malik must cut in order to find the balance between his duties as a son and his sexual desires. His relationship with his mother and his lover both evolve as he makes peace with the once disparate parts of his life.
Class struggle and the culture clash between conservative Tunisians and a more liberal colonialist French way of life are handled with nuance, sensitivity and affirmation. Legendary screen siren Claudia Cardinale (Frederico Fellini’s 8½, The Pink Panther) gives a rousing performance as Malik’s mother. Subtle performances from the rest of this solid cast resonate well against the moody heat of a North African summer. —Trista Kendall, Frameline34
Mehdi Ben Attia was born in 1968 in Tunis, Tunisia. After a postgraduate degree in Political Sociology at the University of Sorbonne in Paris in 1993 he was co-writer of some episodes of sitcoms “H” and “Eva Mag” broadcast on Canal Plus. He then wrote a screenplay feature film, “The Crack” in 1999, working with Zina Modiano . He, also collaborated with the scenario of “Terminus des Anges,” by André Téchiné, shot in Morocco. Mehdi Ben Attia was also an actor on a short film by Zina Modiano , “Growl”. —africultures
The characters and performances were the most interesting thing for me. The story is very rewarding for an audience looking for a happy story. I'm not sure if overall it is a good film, but I enjoyed it. That said, it has its flaws however, mostly that the film is told from an European point of view, rather than a truly Tunisian perspective.