The Silences of the Palace

230 views 3 pages ~ 753 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

The Silences of the Palace

The Silences of the Palace, a critically acclaimed literal drama with feminist overtones from Moufida Tlatli, was released in 1994. The movie examines many forms of oppression that people in positions of authority forced onto women and society at large. The movie's central theme examines gender relations, female enslavement, and authority in the context of colonial Tunisia.

The Oppression of Women in Tunisia

The video emphasizes the oppression of women in Tunisia by the ruling class, which took the shape of silence. In the movie, women are shown as being helpless and forced to endure their suffering in silence while working in the kitchen. Tlatli uses the kitchen as a symbol to illustrate the silence women had to go through. From the kitchen, women like Aila's mother, Khadija are used as slaves by members of the royal family (Sherzer, 2000, p. 53). However, the women's silence is broken by their unity. When Aila is not allowed to play the lute, a preserve of the Beys, by the palace children, Khadija and Khalti Hadda unite to contribute money to buy one for her. Aila trains how to play the musical instrument by herself until she becomes a professional singer. Aila is then able to break the silence as she runs away from the palace and seeks her independence (Sherzer, 2000, p. 57).

Women as Objects of Suffering and Power

Women's bodies are quite critical in the movie as they are used as objects of suffering and at the same time sources of power. The Beys' use the women in their household, such as Khadija, as sex slaves (Sherzer, 2000, p. 54). On the other hand, as Sherzer (2000) observes, the lowly considered slave Khadija is able to use her sexuality to entertain the men in the palace to the point of hypnotising them until their wives, who believed the kitchen servants were of a lower class, became jealous (p. 56).

Target Audience and Societal Issues

Moufida Tlatli's target audience for the movie is the general public, both from the Western and Arab worlds. The movie serves to educate the public about different challenges that women had to experience at the hands of those in power, especially men, during the colonial period in Tunisia. Tlatli also gives the history of Tunisia and how gender and class relations played a part in the development of women. The disadvantaged position of women in the society is well illustrated in the movie. Despite running away from the palace to seek independence, Aila is not yet as independent as she had hoped, ten years later, since her lover is still in control of her (Moufida, 1994). Tlatli illustrates through the movie that women continue to be monitored by men despite making strides to get equality. As Sherzer (2000) explains, women in different parts of the world, to date, are controlled by their male counterparts despite making strides to get gender equality.

Orientalist Images and Women in the Arab World

Tlatli's film is to some degree influenced by Orientalist images as she focuses on highlighting the plight of women. The movie was produced and released in 1994, a period that Western feminism movement was at its peak. By focusing on highlighting the difficulties faced by women, Tlatli seems to have been pushing the Western feminist agenda (Dahlerup, 2013). On the other hand, gender inequalities in the Arab world as highlighted in the movie are a real problem that needed to be aired out; a role undertook well by Tlatli. Tlati's focus on gender inequalities and violence does not resonate with the Western stereotype of women in the Arab world. However, as Dahlerup (2013) notes, such plights are real issues faced by the Arab women.

Relevance in Today's Society

Despite having a setting of the Tunisia society of 1950's regarding class, gender, and history, Tlatli's movie is still relevant today. The issues of gender inequality are still rampant in the modern day as women continue to be oppressed in different societies. Furthermore, the issue of class continues to be more evident as the poor in the society remain at the mercies of the rich and the powerful (Brooke, 2014). Therefore, the movie "The Silences of the Palace" is still relevant in highlighting the ill in the society as Tlatli envisioned in her production much earlier.


Brooke, S. (2014). Class and gender. Twentieth-Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change.

Dahlerup, D. (Ed.). (2013). Women, quotas and politics. London: Rutledge. Moufida, T. (1994). The silence of a palace.

Sherzer, D. (2000). Remembrance of Things Past: "Les Silences du Palais" by Moufida Tlatli. South central review, 17(3), 50-59.

April 06, 2023
Subject area:

Film Analysis Silence Drama

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Drama
Verified writer

Samuel has helped me on several occasions with my college assignments. It has been both simple and complex for my Cinematography course. He is a creative person who will always inspire you. When you need a person to boost your forces, contact Samuel.

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro