Le Fil (The String) (Tunisia: 2010)


Mehdi Ben Attia

Cast list

Claudia Cardinale as Sara

Antonin Stahly Viswanadhan as Malik

Salim Kechiouche as Bilal

Driss Ramdi as Hakim

Ramla Ayari as Siryne

Ali Mrabet as Wassim

Abir Bennanni as Leila

Lotfi Dziri as Abdelaziz

Hosni Khaled as Moncef


Director: Mehdi Ben Attia

Screenplay by Mehdi Ben Attia and Oliver Laneurie

Producers: Anne-Cecile Berthomeau, Fares Ladjimi, Edourad Mauriat

Co-Producer: Denis Delcampe

Music: Karol Beffa

Cinematography: Sofian El Fani

Film Editing: Chantal Hymans

Production Design: Raouf Hiloui

Costume Design: Jean Marc Mirete

Art Department: Bessem Marzouk


Le Fil or The String follows Malik, a gay, French-Tunisian man, and his relationship with his mother, Sara, a bourgeoisie, French woman who married Abdelaziz, Malik's father. Abdelaziz died four months before the film takes place and in this time period Malik had been away in France studying architecture. Malik has a tense relationship with his mother and suffers from intense anxiety, wherein whenever he experiences a panic attack he believes himself to be attached by a string in his back that he thinks could strangle him. When he arrives back in Tunis he decides to come out to his mother, yet stalls continually due to his anxiety. While in Tunis he falls in love with his Sara's handyman, Bilal. The story escalates from here as Sara finds Bilal and Malik in bed together and goes through her own trials to finally accept Malik as a gay man.


Harries, Merlin. "The String". Review of The String, directed by Mehdi Ben Attia. Eye For Film, Nov 2010.

Weissberg, Jay. "The String". Review of The String, directed by Mehdi Ben Attia. Variety, Feb.2010.

Murray, Stephen. "The String (le fil)". Review of The String, directed by Mehdi Ben Attia. The Tangent Group. July 2011.

Salameh, Maia. The String, directed by Mehdi Ben Attia. Africa Archive. Apr 2018.