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Man of Ashes (Widescreen)

Khadija Abaoub , Sarra Abdelhadi , Nouri Bouzid    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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From the Back Cover

Like any groom, Hachemi is anxious about his approaching marriage, but not for the usual reasons. Anonymous alleyway graffiti challenging the manliness of his best friend, Farfat, overshadow the upcoming ceremony. Hachemi's concern is for himself as well as his friend, because he and Farfat share a childhood secret: as apprentices they were both molested by Ameur, the carpenter who trained them. While Farfat makes plans to run away to Tunis, a nervous Hachemi makes a more personal journey of self-discovery.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
MAN OF ASHES / Tunisia 1986 (4 STARS)
14 December 2003: It isn't everyday that one comes across a film from Tunisia, but one that so deftly treats a sensitive subject and so adroitly displays all the element of subtle film-making is a greater rarety. Man of Ashes is indeed a brazen effort for Nouri Bouzid, who needs to be applauded for so bravely confronting a sensitive subject within an Islamic society, while proudly presenting to the world intricate and ceremonious details about his culture.
• Mise-en-scene: I enjoyed the ceremonious and culturally exquisite staging of the wedding. I found several parallels that could be drawn between Tunisian culture and others that I am familiar with, and it was gratifying for me to note the bonds that unify us across culture and geography.
• I would have liked to see more of a progression in the relationship between father and son, which very quickly degenerated into as shouting match and then stayed. It would have been interesting to explore the father's motivations and understand his shouting within that context.
• I had mixed feelings about the figure behavior of the two leads because of their excesses in both directions. I personally thought that the protagonist over-did the withdrawal through trauma and his friend was way over the top with his expression of grief. But then these reactions are culture specific and who can pass judgment on the various ways in which people are prone to behaving in adverse circumstances.
• I also thought that the friend's not going all the way and exploring his homosexual side was a missed opportunity.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Nov. 9 2000
Format:DVD
From Nouri Bouzid comes this tale of a man soon to marry struggling with childhood memories of sexual involvement with his mentor. His best friend, who shares the same experiences, deals with his past in asocial ways. Our hero becomes depressed and fears he will not be able to perform as a man with his bride. Flashbacks fill us in about the exact nature of the trauma and place the boys at about ten years of age. Think of a mix between Nattlek and The Boys of St. Vincent. A Cannes winner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Nov. 9 2000
Format:VHS Tape
From Nouri Bouzid comes this tale of a man soon to marry struggling with childhood memories of sexual involvement with his mentor. His best friend, who shares the same experiences, deals with his past in asocial ways. Our hero becomes depressed and fears he will not be able to perform as a man with his bride. Flashbacks fill us in about the exact nature of the trauma and place the boys at about ten years of age. Think of a mix between Nattlek and The Boys of St. Vincent. A Cannes winner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Nov. 9 2000
By "reteip" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
From Nouri Bouzid comes this tale of a man soon to marry struggling with childhood memories of sexual involvement with his mentor. His best friend, who shares the same experiences, deals with his past in asocial ways. Our hero becomes depressed and fears he will not be able to perform as a man with his bride. Flashbacks fill us in about the exact nature of the trauma and place the boys at about ten years of age. Think of a mix between Nattlek and The Boys of St. Vincent. A Cannes winner.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Nov. 9 2000
By "reteip" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
From Nouri Bouzid comes this tale of a man soon to marry struggling with childhood memories of sexual involvement with his mentor. His best friend, who shares the same experiences, deals with his past in asocial ways. Our hero becomes depressed and fears he will not be able to perform as a man with his bride. Flashbacks fill us in about the exact nature of the trauma and place the boys at about ten years of age. Think of a mix between Nattlek and The Boys of St. Vincent. A Cannes winner.
24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite journey of discovery through Tunisian Culture Jan. 1 2004
By Abhijoy Gandhi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
MAN OF ASHES / Tunisia 1986 (4 STARS)
14 December 2003: It isn't everyday that one comes across a film from Tunisia, but one that so deftly treats a sensitive subject and so adroitly displays all the element of subtle film-making is a greater rarety. Man of Ashes is indeed a brazen effort for Nouri Bouzid, who needs to be applauded for so bravely confronting a sensitive subject within an Islamic society, while proudly presenting to the world intricate and ceremonious details about his culture.
* Mise-en-scene: I enjoyed the ceremonious and culturally exquisite staging of the wedding. I found several parallels that could be drawn between Tunisian culture and others that I am familiar with, and it was gratifying for me to note the bonds that unify us across culture and geography.
* I would have liked to see more of a progression in the relationship between father and son, which very quickly degenerated into as shouting match and then stayed. It would have been interesting to explore the father's motivations and understand his shouting within that context.
* I had mixed feelings about the figure behavior of the two leads because of their excesses in both directions. I personally thought that the protagonist over-did the withdrawal through trauma and his friend was way over the top with his expression of grief. But then these reactions are culture specific and who can pass judgment on the various ways in which people are prone to behaving in adverse circumstances.
* I also thought that the friend's not going all the way and exploring his homosexual side was a missed opportunity.
* The cinematography was surprisingly polished and subtle, and showed an acute sensibility both in the use of camera lenses which were used with great panache to alternate between objective narration and psychologically subjective exploration through tight close-ups, and in the choice of color palette which was diffused and earthy, yet rich with the texture and hues of Tunisian culture.
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't go far enough Dec 16 2009
By Samuel Augustus Jennings - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I agree with Ghandi that it took a lot of courage to make this film dealing with two sexually taboo social issues like homosexuality and child rape. The groom-to-be is an introspective young beauty while his pal is a flaming over-the-top/hot-to-trot drama queen who should have been given the opportunity to explore his homosexual cravings at the bachelor wedding party. Sadly the quick sex tease between Farfat and the other erotic male dancer in that scene ends in violence and death.
3.0 out of 5 stars A failed but good try Aug. 11 2009
By Alfredo R. Villanueva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Please bear in mind this is a 1986 movie made in a Islamic country, dealing with child abuse in a totally macho-oriented culture. That alone makes it daring. At the same time, it exposes how sexuality, for this culture, is community-oriented; that is, young people marry because their families determine it is time for them to do so, whether they want to or not. In fact, the role of females in preserving tradition--whether as mothers or prostitutes--is quite overbearing. What gets lost?
The possibility of a homoerotic relationship between the two protagonists--Hachemi and Farfat--whose unspoken feelings for each other are at the same time the force gluing the plot elements together, and the hidden, undeveloped subtext. The ending is predictable in this cultural context: marriage for one, escape for the other, and revenge for both. But it does not satisfy Western sensibilities.
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