Screened as part of NZIFF 2022

A Tale of Love and Desire 2021

Une histoire d’amour et de désir

Directed by Leyla Bouzid

Leyla Bouzid’s tender coming-of-age romance throws young student Ahmed’s world off-balance as he falls for the confidently self-assured Farah who challenges his cultural values and his poetic ideas of love.

France In Arabic and French with English subtitles
102 minutes DCP


Director, Screenplay


Sandra De Fonseca


Sébastien Goepfert


Lilian Corbeille

Production designer

Léa Philippon

Costume designer

Céline Breland


Lucas Gaudin


Sami Outalbali (Ahmed)
Zbeida Belhajamor (Farah)
Diong-Kéba Tacu (Saidou)
Aurélia Petit (Professor Morel)
Mahia Zrouki (Dalila)
Bellamine Abdelmalek (Karim)
Mathilde La Mussem (Léa)
Samir Elhakim (Hakim)
Khemissa Zarouel (Faouzia)
Sofia Lesaffre (Malika)


Cannes (Critics Week)
Sydney 2021


“The hot flush of first love sizzles through Leyla Bouzid’s assured and seductive sophomore feature. While the spark between fellow literature students Ahmed and Farah is instant, their courtship is thorny. Farah exudes curiosity, embracing the freedom and opportunity of studying in a new city. But for Paris-born Ahmed, the prestigious Sorbonne is a disorientatingly foreign world to the banlieue he grew up in. He is further hardened by the dissonance of discovering erotic Arab literature in these surroundings. Between the lines of literary classics, their worlds slowly begin to merge. Bouzid deftly plays with the clichés of courtship and identity politics in this tale of young love, celebrating passion, poetry and desire.” — Elhum Shakerifar, London Film Festival 2021

“‘Pure love prefers to turn away,’ mumbles Ahmed during a class presentation, quoting a long-dead poet to whom he clearly relates. And it is rare to see such abstract romanticism housed in a male character when it is more often ascribed to the female protagonists of rite-of-passage narratives. But Bouzid’s film is far from prudish in its ultimate outlook – indeed A Tale of Love and Desire really tells the tale of how love and desire can be mutually reinforcing.” — Jessica Kiang, Variety