The Silences of the Palace

Samtu Al-Qusur

The Silences of the Palace

Moufida Tlatli


»From the perspective of a child I have tried to present the world of oriental princes and the injustices emanating from them, which is disguised by the glamour of a decadent culture over one thousand years old. Although it is the destiny of the child to follow its mother into slavery, I also wanted to show the capacity of women to break away from these conditions. Alía is the first one from her family who finds the courage to stand up for herself.«
– Moufida Tlatli

The Silences of the Palace by Moufida Tlatli is set in an already independent Tunisia, and in flashbacks tells of the final years of the monarchy under French rule. Successful singer Alía wanders through the ruins of the palace of Sid’ Alí in Tunis. She was born there as the illegitimate daughter of a servant. When she was 15 she ran away from the palace. She had been familiar since childhood with the social hierarchies and hierarchies between men and women. Now she descends into the basement rooms, filled with the lives and memories of women who passively put up with their situations.

»Our life is a curfew«, says one of the servants. With a cinema of glances and gestures, Moufida Tlatli defies this ban. In her work the director takes the side of the Republic, at the same time denouncing it for not having sufficiently improved the situation of women. The film is considered to be a classic of feminist film, even though the director herself has not defined it as being feminist in interviews. Tlatli has dedicated The Silences of the Palace to her mother.

Awards for ›Samtu Al-Qusur‹
Goldene Kamera, Festival de Cannes 1994 | Golden Tanit, Carthage Film Festival 1994 | Sutherland Award, British Film Institute 1994 | International Kritikerpreis, Toronto Film Festival 1994 | Goldene Tulpe, Istanbul International Film Festival 1994

Director / Editing

Moufida Tlatli


Nouri Bouzid, Moufida Tlatli


Youssef Ben Youssef


Anouar Brahem


Amel Hedhili, Naija Ouerghi, Hend Sabri, Fatima Ben Saïdane und andere


Ahmed Bahaeddine Attia, Richard Magnien


Fortissimo Films

Moufida Tlatli

Moufida Tlatli was born in 1947 in Sidi Bou Saïd, a suburb of Tunis. From 1966 to 1968, she studied at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies (IDHEC) in Paris. Afterwards she returned to Tunis, but continued working as a film editor in Paris. In Tunisia, she worked on numerous film projects, and was one of the most important filmmakers in the country, along with Férid Boughedir and Nacer Khemir. With The Silences of the Palace she presented her début feature film in 1994. In January 2011, Moufida Tlatli was Minister of Culture in the first Tunisian transitional cabinet, but this was dissolved ten days later after pressure from the streets.

Films by Moufida Tlatli
Nadia et Sarra 2003 | La saison des hommes 2000