Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

The Bookshop
(El Kotbia)

Year: 2002
Country: TUNISIA, FRANCE, MOROCCO
Run Time: 100 minutes

On his way to a job arranged for him by an uncle, Jamil follows a siren-like female singing voice through the crowded streets of modern Tunis, to his goal, a large bookstore run by the same family for generations. Business subsists on very few customers (mainly gossips from the marketplace) thanks to a cheap, rent control situation. Present owner Tarik, eager to move out, grooms the down-on-his-luck Jamil to succeed him as manager-in residence, Oh, the siren? That's Tarik's sensuous young wife Leila, who idolizes great Arab vocalists like Um Kulthum, and pressures Tarik to free her from the solemn, constraining shop so she can have children and perhaps a performing career herself. A workable plan...until you factor in the unpredictability of human nature. And the limits of sacrifice that people can make for the ones they love. Soon the Tunis market gossips will have even more to chatter about, in a page-turning, romantic drama of destinies bound between two covers. (In Arabic with English subtitles)

Screenplay
Nawfel Saheb-Ettaba, Tarek Ben Chabaane

Producer
Nawfel Saheb-Ettaba

Cinematography
Gilles Porte

Editing
Nadia Ben Rachid, Mounira Bhar

Principal Cast
Hend Sabri, Ahmed El Haffiene, Martine Gafsi, Yadh Beji, Raouf Ben Amor, Moustapha El Adouani

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