Nora is a striking young girl in new love. All dressed up, she takes a short cut through an abandoned building, on the way for her hot date. Kevin, her ex, pulls up in the background. What ensues is a now universal 21st century story of male-female power, sexuality and shame — with a biting, feminist twist.
I AND THE STUPID BOY, directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, is the 22nd commission from Miu Miu Women’s Tales. The acclaimed short-film series invites today’s most profound and original female directors to investigate vanity and femininity in the 21st century.
Kaouther Ben Hania is a Tunisian film director. Her most recent work, The Man Who Sold His Skin, was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021. Ben Hania’s 2017 feature, Beauty and the Dogs, was selected in Cannes Film Festival’s official selection Un Certain Regard.
Nora is played by French actress Oulaya Amamra, who won the César Award for Most Promising Actress in 2017 for her role in the film Divines. Kevin’s part is played by acclaimed European actor Sandor Funtek, who recently had two films presented at Cannes 2021 The Story of My Wife (official selection) and Suprêmes.
“I wanted to create an impossible love story,” says Kaouther. “The girl in my story is very empathetic,” she continues,“whereas the boy sees everything from his own perspective.” Kaouther’s film explores the breakdown of communication between these divergent personality types. The way Nora is dressed in her Miu Miu apparel is fundamental to the character’s story arc. “Nora has sex appeal, she wants to be cool. When she’s stopped by Kevin, her costume doesn't help her. I love this contradiction.” Kaouther adds, “Costumes are a very powerful tool in cinema, like scenery and lighting.”
The story’s genesis originates when Kaouther once overheard a young girl in Paris shout desperately at a boy, “Give me back my phone!” I AND THE STUPID BOY contains a multitude of contemporary themes facing young women everywhere today: technology and intimacy, toxic relationships and self-value, and how, as Kaouther puts it, “secrets become easily revealed in a single click.”
Kaouther Ben Hania’s new episode for Women’s Tales premieres at the Venice Film Festival’s Giornate degli Autori on September 4th 2021, along with a screening of Shangri-La by Isabel Sandoval.