Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s “I and the Stupid Boy,” the new title in the Prada-commissioned Miu Miu Women’s Tales short film series directed by women, was unveiled Sept. 4 at the Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section.
The short by Ben Hania, who directed the Oscar-nominated “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” is a tale of male-female power, sexuality and shame — with a biting, feminist twist.
In “I and the Stupid Boy,” the protagonist, Nora, is a striking young woman, newly in love. All dressed up, she takes a short cut through an abandoned building, on the way to her date, only to run into Kevin, her ex, who pulls up in a scooter and starts to harass her.
Nora is played by Oulaya Amamra, who won the 2017 César Award for best emerging actress for her role in the film “Divines” by Houda Benyamina, set in the Paris banlieu. Kevin is played by Sandor Funtek, who recently appeared in two films at Cannes, “The Story of My Wife” and “Suprêmes.”
“I wanted to create an impossible love story,” said Kaouther in a statement. “The girl in my story is very empathetic whereas the boy sees everything from his own perspective.”
Ben Hania noted that she dressed Nora in Miu Miu clothes in a way that was key to the character’s story arc. “Nora has sex appeal, she wants to be cool,” she said. And when she’s stopped by Kevin, her attire “doesn’t help her,” she said. “I love this contradiction.”
The story germinated after Ben Hania overheard a teenage girl in Paris shouting desperately at a boy: “Give me back my phone!,” she said.
“I and the Stupid Boy” touches on lots of themes that young women everywhere are contending with today: technology and intimacy, toxic relationships and self-value, and how, as Ben Hania put it, “secrets become easily revealed in a single click.”
The shorts in the series are all loosely inspired by Miu Miu clothes and accessories, but with no obligation for these products to be shown on screen.