Artist: Nouri Bouzid|
Confronting Bodies: Ministry of Culture & Information, Ministry of Interior
Date of Action: November 1989
Specific Location: Tunisia
Description of Artwork: Youssef Soltane, a leftist intellectual, political militant, and the father of three children is released from prison. Arrested, condemned, then tortured, he managed to survive for years thanks to his ideals. At the end of the night, after roaming the city and a few unfortunate meetings with his children and friends, he commits suicide.
Description of Incident: In November 1989, the Control Commission of the Tunisian Ministry of Culture and Information demanded that the torture scenes and a love scene, considered too crude, be suppressed. A second commission, ordered by the Ministry of Interior, demanded 18 cuts. The Ministry of Interior felt criticized by the depicted police violence as torture had been officially abolished two years before. Filmmaker Nouri Bouzid accused the intolerances of Muslim "integrisme."
Results of Incident: The film was mutilated, then forbidden within the country. Nourid Bouzid is fighting for his film to be distributed in its original version in Tunisia. The press took hold of the case, and with some Western support, is trying to defend the film.
Source: Les Cahiers du Cinema, No 431/432, May 1990