A Summer in La Goulette, writer-director Ferid Boughedir brings
memories of summer to a forefront in order to share with audiences a
manages to feel both carefree and surprisingly serious. There are
deeper messages lurking beneath the humor and carefree nature of the
film. La Goulette certainly has undertones aimed at
thoughtful viewers with more to examine than mere carefree memories.
summer can represent a variety of things to a number of different
some, the season captures the positive memories of youth, escapism, and
those times can come to help define us in our present lives. Any
might choose to look back at such past sunny days and view them with a
smell of nostalgia. Others may instead think only of those moments as
memories that contain elements of youthful regrets.
seems to represent all of these potential opinions in his film. A
La Goulette follows three teenage girls who by all appearances seem
extremely close as friends. They determine a need to lose their
the end of summer. The setting is 1967 Tunisia. Meriem is a Muslim,
Jewish, and Tina is Catholic. Moments of hilarity ensue to mixed but
nonetheless satisfying results.
of the main elements of the film is the conflict between these girls
fathers. The adults in this scenario quite frequently behave like
children in several pivotal scenes, including one where they
to abuse their daughters after they believe they have lost
virginity. The fathers are all scolding their daughters, grabbing their
and yelling at them for bringing disgrace to their families. The film
takes things quite as far as it might sound (most of it is done
joking manner) but it is suggestive enough as an issue to reinforce the
of the times and the ridiculous differences found between religious men
aren't willing to consider the stupidity of their own actions. These
even seem upset over the backgrounds of their daughter's potential
should their daughters be with men for any reason other than economic
stability? This question goes down an interesting path. There is
plot-line involving a perverted old man: the greedy and cruel landlord
Hadj. He seems to fall for one of the girls (who he also 'accidentally'
naked) and this leads to the daughter's father being faced with making
important decision before the story comes to its close.
curiously weird foreign film has probably garnered less of a reception
actually deserves when further analyzed. If you stop and think about
being presented, it reveals itself to being about the ridiculous nature
gender discrimination, religious judgments made onto others, and to
the fear and acceptance of what could be an oncoming war for Tunisia
presented through the eyes of a supporting-character who is constantly
listening to the radio to hear updated news reports). Most of the
La Goulette think little of the potential dangers of their
only these characters were aware of what might be coming so soon. The
war would begin (following the events found in this film) and kick
summer memories into the sweet nostalgia of tomorrow.
The film is presented in its original language (Arabic and French). The
is clear with easy to follow dialogue. There are no bells and whistles
audio (the film lacks a surround sound option). English subtitles are
optional and are burned-in to the image.
Summer in La Goulette is
presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:66:1. The
film is given a moderately decent anamorphic transfer. It is certainly
watchable. The PQ is nothing to brag about though. At times it even
of a VHS quality transfer. I must say that I was disappointed by the
presentation of the film.
There aren't any extras to be found. Does a badly designed menu count?
Boughedir's A Summer in La Goulette is a surprising comedy
on the differences between daughters and fathers. It also uses a
character-driven mold to craft themes out of the story that are rather
(regarding religious turmoil and looming war). There is also a decent
sexually charged comedy. If that sounds like an interesting cinematic
experience this is certainly worth watching. The downside is that the
given a disappointing treatment and the DVD contains no extras. If you
can get past
the DVD shortcomings: Recommended.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.