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Review The fruit of late summer: effective simplicity

The fruit of late summer is a film that from Tunisia is conquering the world through the most important film festivals: here is our review after seeing it in preview at FESCAAAL 2023

ORIGINAL TITLE: Under the fig trees. Drama. COUNTRY: Tunisia, Switzerland, France. DIRECTOR: Erect Sehiri. CAST: Abdelhak Mrabti, Fedi Ben Achour, Gaith Mendassi, Hneya Ben Elhedi Sbahi, Leila Ouhebir DURATION: 92 minutes. DISTRIBUTOR: Trent Film. PRODUCER: Henia Production, Maneki Films, Akka Films. RELEASE: 03/23/23

The Fruit of Late Summer is a documentary-style dramatic film from Tunisia that is slowly conquering the most important international film festivals. A film that was indeed presented world premiere at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival 2022 and was awarded the Final Cut in Venice workshop at the 78th edition of the Venice Film Festival. It is also added that he almost came close to participating in the 2023 Oscars because he was selected by Tunisia for the best international film section. A film that was chosen for the opening of FESCAAAL 2023, the African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival, which was held in Milan on March 16, 2023.

The trailer and the synopsis | Review The fruit of late summer

At the end of summer, a group of girls and women work in an orchard in northwestern Tunisia to pick figs. Watched by workers and older men, the girls flirt, tease, argue about men, and argue. During the day, the orchard becomes a theater of emotions, a place where the dreams and hopes of a freer modern generation pass, alongside one more anchored in traditions.

A docu-reality show under the eye of the fig trees | Review The fruit of late summer

We find ourselves in an orchard surrounded by fig trees, and we see young women, older women and men picking figs for work wages that still cannot compensate for their hard work. The sensation is of finding ourselves almost in a documentary, with the approach of a reality show. But not what reality shows have become now, what was their essence as a social experiment: a true cross-section of what we are facing, without frills. Figs become many small cameras that show us the dynamics that arise between colleagues, especially the younger ones. There is a lot of harmony between the girls, even when disagreements arise, there is also the desire to fall in love, to have relationships and to have feelings. At the same time, there is also the strength to rebel against certain powers, even when this entails the risk of losing a secure job.

The realm of delicacy | Review The fruit of late summer

To the eye everything appears very delicate, both the gaze on the protagonists and their actions: to do a good job, figs must be picked with great delicacy and so are their branches, they must be handled so as not to break them. Thus, the women and men of this orchard also move delicately among themselves: speaking in whispers, stealing glances, moving slowly. This delicacy brings us closer to the relational dynamics that exist in their world outside the orchard, from quarrels, to finished or just begun loves, to power games.

Review The fruit of late summer: effective simplicity

A movie to listen to | Review The fruit of late summer

The Fruit of Late Summer is a film with a very specific direction plan by the talented Erige Sehiri: the camera is constantly moving, with a “dirty” approach that serves to give greater realism to the characters and what they feel. And beyond the images, what is captured with great attention are the sounds: the sounds of footsteps in the fields, of tree branches, of laughter and whispered words. The musical soundtrack is there, and it’s also interesting, but the sounds are the protagonists, such as to make The Fruit of the Late Summer a film mainly to be listened to. The figs can be seen in the shots and heard with their noises, even when they are stolen or when they are stepped on by mistake. The director’s choice to set the story in a fig plantation is part of it in an attraction that this fruit has long had for the world of cinema and photography perhaps also closely linked to the aesthetic charm of the places where these fruits are usually grown.

Review The fruit of late summer: effective simplicity

An effective simplicity that will win you over

Overall, The fruit of late summer with its delicacy and simplicity, manages to conquer, because it has a slow but constant pace and above all it always appears honest towards the viewer. Its international success is certainly justified and now that it will also be released in Italy it will certainly be appreciated here too.

The fruit of late summer opens in Italian theaters on March 23, 2023 after it was premiered at the opening of FESCAAAL 2023, the African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival. Let us know what you think after seeing it and keep following for all the news on cinema and TV series.

A simplicity that conquers

Plus points

  • A very delicate film
  • A very simple but effective direction

Points against

  • Direction too slow in some passages

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