The Silences of the Palace (Tunisia: 1994)


Moufida Tlatli

Cast list

Amel Hedhili...Khedija

Najia Ouerghi...Khalti Hadda

Hend Sabri...Young Alia

Fatima Ben Saïdane...Mroubia

Zahira Ben Ammar...Habiba

Sabah Bouzouita...Schema

Sonia Meddeb...La Jneina

Hélène Catzaras...Fella

Ghalia Lacroix...Adult Alia

Michket Krifa...Memia

Hichem Rostom...Si Bechir

Kamel Touati...Houssine

Kamel Fazaa...Sid’ Ali

Sami Bouajila...Lofti

Hatem Barrabeh...Salim

Bechir Feni...Le Bey

Khedija Ben Othman...Sarra


Moufida Tlatli...Writer, Editor

Nouri Bouzid...Writer

Ahmed Baha Attia...Producer

Richard Magnien...Producer

Anouar Brahem...Music

Youssef Ben Youssef...Cinematographer

Camille Cotte...Editor

Karim Hammouda...Editor

Claude Bennys...Set Designer

Fatma Jaziri...Makeup Artist

Gérard Rousseau...Sound Mixer

Faouzi Thabet...Sound


Following the death of the prince for whom her mother worked as a kitchen hand, 25-year-old singer Alia returns to the palace where she spent her childhood to pay her respects. In doing so, she also flees from her controlling lover who wants her to have an abortion. As she explores the dilapidated palace, she recalls her youth, which she hasn’t thought about since her mother’s death, and reflects on her mother’s position as a servant who was expected or forced to be sexually available for the tender prince (who may have been Alia’s father) and his cruel brother.


Caryn James, Film Festival Review; A Daughter Revisits Her Mother’s Oppression. New York Times.

Nathanael Hood, The Silences of the Palace. Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear.

Paul Sedra, Films for the Classroom: Silences of the Palace. Jadaliyya.

Donadey, Anne. “Representing Gender and Sexual Trauma: Moufida Tlatli’s Silences of the Palace.” South Central Review 28.1 (2011): 36-51.

Naaman, Dorit. “Woman/nation: A Postcolonial Look at Female Subjectivity.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 17.4 (2000): 333-42.

Rice, Laura. “Refracting an Orientalist Lens: The Instability and Performance in Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace.” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 17.1 (2007): 37-57.

Salhi, Kamal. “Imaging Silence—Representing Women: Moufida Tlatli’s Silences of the Palace and North African Feminist Cinema.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 24.4 (2007): 353-77.

Slawy-Sutton, Catherine. “”Outremer” and “The Silences of the Palace”: Feminist Allegories of Two Countries in Transition.” Pacific Coast Philology 37 (2002): 85-104.

Zayzafoon, Lamia Ben Youssef. “Memory as Allegory: The Spectre of Incest and the (re)naming of the Father in Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace (1994).” Critical Arts 21.1 (2007): 47-67.

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