Bezness as Usual (2016)


Bezness as Usual Storyline

What is it like to be a child of a Tunisian playboy and a Dutch mother? Are expectations and cultures on both sides compatible?

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Bezness as Usual Movie Reviews

Honest, vulnerable and empathetic

This movie tells the deeply personal and humane journey of the director to understand his origins. A child of a Dutch mother and Tunisian father, who separated very early in his life, Alex Pitstra grew up in the Netherlands. He now visits Tunisia in order to get to know his estranged father, family and the Tunisian culture.

Although the story couldn’t be more personal, Alex remarkably manages to preserve a compassionate openness and non-judgmental attitude that is truly rare. He honors all perspectives, of his mother, his father, and explores the complex interplay of cultural, sociological, political, economic and personal circumstances that brought his parents together, let to his existence, and caused the often challenging relationships he and they would develop with each other.

Alex doesn’t shy away from sometimes painful confrontations, but these are never motivated by a need for superficial judgment or for painting a simplistic black and white picture. The empathetic curiosity that Alex manages to uphold throughout this emotional, touching but also at times comical journey is truly rare and commendable. Highly recommended!

Orientalist narcissistic perspective

It’s your typical orientalist perspective on north african countries.. director condemned his estranged father and adopted the racist views on him from his upbringing environment even before meeting him. A lot of cultural elements from Tunisia are misunderstood, for instance, Tunisian kids take care of their parents when they earn money, he’s not the exception because he’s European. The entire Tunisian family is painted in a very disgusting way as if everyone is looking to use this guy for money. It’s almost as the director fantasizes about the position he claims to despise, being the European bank account. Everyone’s intentions are doubted because he feels “special”. There are really annoying conversations happening, a lot of accusations happening as well, without a proof of anything. The responsibility is almost entirely falling on the shoulders of the father, not many details are given about what really happened. The phenomenon treated does exist to some extent, yes local Tunisian flirty young men seduce European women who are consenting and grown ups and know that they’re doing. It’s becoming really irritating to treat this as some sort of shameful crime that only the guys here are mostly responsible for. Everybody in these relationships is grown up and know social cues. The ladies benefit from these men just as much as they benefit from them. But suddenly, it became a very racialized discussion and all entangled with religion and whatnot. The father is doing his best and clearly from the place he lives at, didn’t benefit that much from a mistake he did some 40 years ago. Yet, we see humiliating things said to him by both his over-priviliged kids from abroad, narcissistic and invading his small home he built with his new local family. We also don’t get to learn anything about the fully Tunisian sister, she’s completely disregarded like she doesn’t matter. Similarly with her mother.

In short, it’s a racist ignorant painting of a tunisian man. No efforts to learn the local culture in order to understand better why things happened the way they did. This feels more like a revenge. Utter trash and infuriating.