El Hara

Directed By: Margaux Fitoussi, Mo Scarpelli / 16 Minutes
USA, France, Tunisia / 2017 / French (English Subtitles)
Short Film (up to 45 minutes) / Coming of age; Other
Territory Rights: WORLD-WIDE
Exhibition Format: Prores/QT


How do the fortresses we build to protect ourselves affect the people we become? EL HARA follows one man’s break with the neighborhood of his youth, the now-disappeared Jewish quarter of Tunis. Through a cinematic journey punctuated by his timeless writings, we explore how such moments of rupture haunt us forever.


For more than 700 years, thousands of Jews lived in the Islamic city of Tunis. Most of them lived in a ‘city within a city,’ a neighborhood called the Hara. One conflicted young boy who grew up in the Hara recognized how the French colonial power was impacting his community — and his sense of self. This boy grew up to become the most celebrated Tunisian writer of the twentieth century, a contemporary of French philosophers Jean Sarte and Albert Camus. His name is Albert Memmi.

Memmi left the Hara as a young adult; but the Hara never left him. The enclosed Jewish quarter and his complicated nostalgia for this place would haunt his writings for the next 60 years.

In 2016, there are no Jews living in the Hara. Traces of the Jewish community in Tunis are faint, their imprint upon the social and political landscape hardly visible. But the ghosts of this neighborhood remain…

Through a cinematic journey of the Hara today, punctuated by an exclusive interview with Memmi and readings of his lyrical prose, EL HARA explores how the places we come from shape who we become.