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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