A Tale of Love and Desire, written and directed by Leyla Bouzid, which will premiere at the 26th IFFK under the World Cinema category, is a coming-of-age tale of love and eroticism.
The film follows Ahmed, an 18-year-old Algerian-French university student, and Farah, a girl from Tunisia, who is new to Paris. He discovers a collection of erotic Arabic literature and falls in love with Farah, who he finds to be full of life. The film showcases the friendship, budding romance and sexual tension between the two. It also portrays the shyness from the boy’s side, something that is rarely narrated in films.
“Pure love prefers to turn away,” mumbles Ahmed as he struggles through a class presentation while quoting a poet who is long gone and to whom he clearly relates. Such abstract romanticism in a male character is refreshing as well as rare, and that is what sets this film apart.
A Tale of Love and Desire won the Best Picture Award at the Rome MedFilm Festival, and Bouzid also received the Valentina Pedicini Award at the same festival. It was selected in the official competition for Best Feature Film and for the Golden Stallion of Yennenga for Best Film at the Fespaco Film Festival.