Les Sabots En Or (film)

Date: 1989

Region: Africa

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion , Explicit Sexuality , Religion

Medium: Film Video

Artist: Nouri Bouzid

Confronting Bodies: Ministry of Culture & Information, Ministry of Interior

Dates of Action: November 1989

Location: Tunisia

Description of Artwork: The film tells the story of Youssef Soltane, a leftist intellectual, political militant, and the father of three children. The film begins after Soltane is released from prison. The film also describes his arrest and torture in prison. Soltane eventually commits suicide.

The 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