Kaouther Ben Hania earned an Oscar nomination three years ago in the category of Best International Feature for The Man Who Sold His Skin, a thought-provoking exploration of the meaning of autonomy, identity, and nationality. Now, Ben Hania is back on the Oscar shortlist for her latest, a riveting and creative documentary-narrative hybrid, Four Daughters, which is among the finalists for both Best International Feature and Best Documentary. Read our review of the film.
I had the chance to speak with Ben Hania about how and why she chose to tell this story and what the international reception to the film has been so far, including the real-world impact for its subjects. She looked back at her previous projects, including 2017’s Beauty and the Dogs, to extract connective threads that interest her.
You can watch the video above, and read below for an official summary and where to watch.
A riveting exploration of rebellion, memory, and sisterhood, Four Daughters reconstructs the story of Olfa Hamrouni and her four daughters, unpacking a complex family history through intimate interviews and performance to examine how the Tunisian woman’s two eldest daughters were radicalized. Casting professional actresses as the missing eldest daughters Ghofrane and Rahma, along with acclaimed Egyptian-Tunisian actress Hend Sabri as Olfa, director Kaouther Ben Hania restages pivotal moments in the family’s life, interwoven with confessions and reflections from Olfa and younger daughters Eya and Tayssir that capture moments of joy, loss, violence, and heartache. Four Daughters is a compelling portrait of five women and a unique and ambitious work of nonfiction storytelling that questions the nature of memory, the weight of inherited trauma, and the ties that bind mother and daughter.
Four Daughters is currently available on VOD.