“Honey cigar”, Selma, 17, torn between two cultures


Located in 1993, Honey cigar follows in the footsteps of her heroine, Selma, 17, divided between her studies, her first sexual emotions, the parental environment (the Berber and secular bourgeoisie), and the echoes of the fundamentalist threat that hits her country of origin. The film is eyeing the side of its unrestrained model, To our Loves (1983), by Maurice Pialat, adding to it the very fashionable motif of the heroine torn between two cultures (DNA by Maïwenn, Sisters by Yamina Benguigui).

The filmmaker struggles to breathe any vigor into her story of emancipation
feminine, wisely fulfilling her specifications of obligatory scenes filmed without
inspiration (scenes of sex, parties, family dinner that goes wrong) while giving each other airs
of anti-patriarchal charge which is not cold in the eyes – one thinks with nostalgia of the portraits of young girls of Catherine Breillat.

Like her, Kamir Aïnouz has the good idea to systematically film the relationship between men and women as an open war, but her literal approach ends up transforming this feminist ambition into thematic opportunism. Sex is both liberating and traumatic, as is Selma’s connection to her origins – everything predictably turning into its opposite. Despite Zoé Adjani’s beautiful, cheeky and indolent performance, Honey cigar offers for any spectacle only the frail torments of a poor rich little girl.

French film by Kamir Aïnouz. With Zoé Adjani, Amira Casar, Lyes Salem (1 h 36).

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