Four Daughters Film Review by Jouzian Wahhab

Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, Four Daughters is a Documentary film that tells the stories of a Tunisian family — Olfa and her daughters (Ghofrane, Rahma, Tayssir, and Eya) — while challenging methods of nonfiction storytelling. The film explores the struggles of women, a spectrum of extremes, and radicalization while highlighting memory, grief, and truth in the most raw and vulnerable approach.

While recalling the past, Olfa’s youngest daughters, Tayssir and Eya (who act as themselves in the film), are thrown into facing a reality they have fought hard to hide and bury; the tragic loss of their older sisters, Ghofrane and Rahma (played by Ichraq Matar and Nour Karoui), who ran away to join ISIS, a terrorist group. Through its creative dialogue and efficient camera work, the film questions the nature of memory, the weight of inherited trauma, and the ties that bind mother and daughter. As the story progresses, the audience will experience a powerful shift in storytelling as the daughters begin to recall exhaustive details of their lives — insisting that complete accounts of their childhoods be told.

Ben Hania’s choices in mirroring and capturing unscripted reactions make it unexpectedly difficult to decipher the character from the human — binding the two together as one.

With its unique casting choices, Four Daughters explores a distinct approach to documentary film while emphasizing the importance of truth, memory, and lived experiences.

Through sound and silence, Ben Hania immerses her audience into the lives of Olfa and her four daughters.

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