Under the Fig Trees takes place over the course of a warm summer day at a Tunisian fig orchard. As a group of workers collect the summer’s harvest, the cover of fig branches creates a space for flirting, drama, and deep connections.
A truck carrying a group of workers – mainly teenagers, as well as some seasoned older women – arrives at a fig orchard in rural Tunisia, and the workday begins. Some of the workers flirt, and others pick fights. Some neglect their work, while others report to the boss, and the oldest of the group teaches the teens the art of fig harvesting. Although the work is hard and repetitive, the orchard becomes a kind of sanctuary for some of the workers, an opportunity to escape the gaze of society, speak freely and share secrets with each other.
Director Erige Sehiri allows the film’s focus to flow elegantly from one character to the next, and their dreams, prospects, and predicaments. In many cases, their situations represent larger political issues, casting the group of harvesters as a microcosm of the society they belong to. But Under the Fig Trees is first and foremost a warm and compassionate ensemble drama, and watching it feels like spending a satisfying and eventful day in the sun.
Erige Sehiri (b. 1982) is a French-Tunisian filmmaker. She manages her own production company, Henia Production, and has made several documentaries focusing on Tunisian society. Under the Fig Trees is her fiction film debut.
2020 The Station Master (short)
2018 Students (short)
2018 Railway Men (documentary)
2018 The Tearing (short)
2013 Le Facebook de mon père (short)
|Original title:||Taht alshajra|
|Country:||Tunisia, Switzerland, France, Qatar|
|Run time:||1h 32m|
|Screenplay:||Erige Sehiri, Peggy Hamann, Ghalya Lacroix|
|Cast:||Fedi Ben Achour, Firas Amri, Ameni Fdhili|