An encounter with the doyenne of Tunisian film, Selma Baccar
Van de Peer, Stefanie
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Van de Peer, S. (2011) An encounter with the doyenne of Tunisian film, Selma Baccar. The Journal of North African Studies, 16 (3), pp. 471-482.
Selma Baccar was the first woman to make a feature film in Tunisia, in the late 1970s. In correspondence with a worldwide interest in new forms of cinema and a postcolonial preoccupation with (self-) representation, Baccar found new creative ways of expressing and representing the Tunisian woman and her role in society. While the postcolonial Tunisian society, led by President Habib Bourguiba, was by then known for its modern view on politics and especially women's roles in the community, Baccar took it upon herself to reassert women's historic roles in defining the Tunisian society. Tunisian filmmaking has been identified as being a cinema of the mythical feminine. Nevertheless, there is a much more problematic spatiality going on in Tunisian cinema than the most well-known films dare to illustrate. The identity politics in many films foregrounds women as the bearer of the nation's troubles, while Tunisia's liberal and democratic status in the Arab world denies even the existence of any troubles. In this interview with Baccar, she paints a confident picture of a female filmmaker in Tunisia while she also critically looks upon politics and trends in world cinema.