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Under the Fig Trees Under the Fig Trees

Erige Sehiri / Tunisia, Switzerland, Germany, France / 2022 / 92 min / Arabic

Among the trees, young women and men working the summer harvest develop new feelings, flirt, try to understand each other, and find deeper connections.

Set over the course of a single day in a small town in Tunisia, Sehiri follows a group of summer workers at a fig orchard harvesting the fruit. Every morning at dawn, the plantation owner comes to pick them up by car. However, young Fidé seems to receive a preferential treatment because the man is in love with her. This triggers rumours among the other girls and gradually widens a gap between her and the other workers. On this sunny, summer day, where nothing much happens, class and gender tensions boil to the surface, and the systems of exploitation and oppression the characters live under are revealed for scrutiny.

"I liked the idea that this place could be from 100 years ago – we don't know. There is no sign of modernity in nature; the sign of modernity is them, especially the young girls. It’s in the way they act, on their phones, the way they talk and what they are talking about. At the same time, they are suffocating. That's why I wanted to replicate that idea visually, by shooting the film using plenty of close-ups – it gives this sensation that it's a beautiful place, but also a place where these women have no opportunities in this modern world. And it’s not just the girls – even the boys are restricted."
- Erige Sehiri

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