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Beauty and the Dogs
Kaouther Ben Hania’s bold and defiant fiction debut tells the story of a sexual assault in nine stunning single-take sequences.
Director: Kaouther Ben Hania
Nine single-take sequences follow Mariam (Mariam Al Ferjani) over the course of one night. It begins benignly at a university fundraising event, where she catches the eye of a handsome new face. The second sequence sees the man pursuing her, his intentions unclear. Mariam next appears dishevelled and petrified. She has just been raped by several policemen. And so a bureaucratic nightmare begins, as Mariam and the man attempt to obtain a medical or police statement in order to report the crime.
The film offers sharp social commentary on the agency of a rape victim – questioned rather than believed and engaged in a maddening cycle of victimising behaviour. Mariam’s defiance reveals the manipulation of stigma against her and the underlying systemic corruption, but also the power she that has to resist.