DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Communion (Qorban)

Director - Nejib Belkadhi - 2021

"Dirty gem"
Nejib Belkadhi's film is a dark comedy about love and madness in the time of coronavirus - live from the first ever Red Sea Film Festival


There are no words scarier in the language at the moment that those two you hear frequently at film festivals: lockdown movie. And so it was with a heavy tread that I made my way to the El Balad cinema 1 to see the Tunisian film Communion (Qorban), which promised an hour and a half accompanying a married couple through their lockdown experience. In reality, Communion is at once a funny and terrifying piece of work.

Written, directed and starring Nejib Belkadhi, Blekadhi plays Kais a driver who finds himself at home furloughed from his job as a driver. His wife Sara (Souhir Ben Amara) is a social worker who is desperately trying to keep her vulnerable charges from being kicked out onto the street in the middle of the pandemic. It soon becomes apparent that her duty of care extends to her husband who is prone to psychotic episodes and must take his medication, though he’s beginning to run out.

At first, Kais is obsessively intent on cleaning and protecting himself and Sara from the virus: boiling his clothes and bleaching everything. But as time goes on and the drugs begin to wear off, Sara’s duty of care begins to extend to her addled husband who is becoming increasingly paranoid and violent. Initially, the film feels like a comedy. Kais is an amenable schlub whose mania is full of comic exaggeration and there’s something imminently relatable in his fluctuating panic. He’s also quite likable and he and Sara have a rapport and an affection for each other that’s obviously stood the test of time. So far. However, as huge coronavirus shaped entities appear in the sky and voices start threatening him, Kais’ predicament becomes darker even if still absurd. The difficulty of placing the tone is one of the film’s strengths, wrong footing the audience and keeping us on edge, in the same way Sara and Kais are increasingly uncertain to the point of distraction.

Hazem Berrabah’s black and white photograph has an austere cleanliness to it, a smoothness that sometimes belies the chaos it portrays. Despite its extremity, Kais and Sara’s predicament is not far from what we all experienced. It is at once absurd and nightmarish and genuinely funny and genuinely scary. It deals specifically with mental health issues in the time of the pandemic but even in its characters madness there is a trace of everything that has being going on at a societal level. The conspiracy theories and the extreme political positions have thrived in a way that pre-pandemic might have seemed impossible.

Communion just showed at The Red Sea International Film Festival which will run from December 6th to 15th, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"Dirty gem"

By John Bleasdale - 12-12-2021

By John Bleasdale - 12-12-2021

John Bleasdale is a film critic and writer based in Italy. He has published a novel entitled Blood is on the Grass and a book of short stories as well as a number of articles and features. His work ha...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More


Lee Cooper

John McDonald - 08-08-2022

Dirty gem of a documentary provides some vibrant insight into the life of Britain’s oldest drag queen - in cinemas, Curzon Home Cinema and BFI Player on Friday, August 5th [Read More...]

Arnold Is a Model Student (Arnon pen nakrian tuayang)

Sorayos Prapapan

Redmond Bacon - 08-08-2022

This delightful and odd school-set Thailand satire asks if the revolution is even worth it — live from Locarno Film Festival 2022. [Read More...]

Medusa Deluxe

Thomas Hardiman

John Bleasdale - 08-08-2022

Blackly comic thriller about a high-level hairdressing competition is a cut above the rest - British debut of rare promise shows at Locarno [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *