No Harm Done

Même pas mal

- FRANCE / 2012 / French, Arabic / Color / Blu-ray / 66 min

Directors: Nadia El Fani, Alina Isabel Pérez
Photography: Nadia El Fani
Editing: Jeremy Leroux
Producer: David Kodsi
Source: Doc & Film International

In Tunisia at the end of the reign of Ben Ali, a filmmaker holds misgivings over the political use of Islam, problematizing it in a film. The regime was overthrown, but what awaited her was harsh online criticism from Islamists. Liberated in the revolution, discourse runs amok, like an animal whose restraints have just been released. Criticism of her film develops into slander, death threats, and legal complaints. No Harm Done is a record of the directors’ calls for freedom of thought, made during her battle against cancer.

-[Director’s Statement] My family had a large influence on the development of my spirit of resistance—I am the daughter of a communist. But more than this influence, what drives me is a strong desire for freedom. My films have only one theme, and that is freedom.

When I began shooting my past film Neither Allah Nor Master! in August 2010, I had made up my mind. I was resolved to go into exile in France. I may never return to Tunisia again. But even so, I would still confront the Ben Ali regime head-on for its political use of religion, and hold him accountable for the deceit concealing the everyday lives of the Tunisian people. Someone had to sound the alarm. My recent retreat was not due to simple social issues, but an authoritarian regime that would not accept freedom of thought.

The revolution finally arrived, and my story became history itself. What interested me was the aftermath of the revolution. I felt I could finally speak freely. I broke many taboos, committing the most sinful apostasies in Islam. In April 2011, at the premiere of my last film, I announced that I was an atheist. Afterward, Islamists began a campaign of deep loathing and harassment. And later, while I was editing this film, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to fight two battles at once.

In order to depict the events that one film brought about, I have made another. Why, you ask? I want to continue this fight. I want to keep speaking.

“Those who live are those who fight.”—Victor Hugo

Nadia El Fani

- Nadia El Fani

Born 1960 in Tunis. In 1990 Nadia El Fani released her first short film Pour le plasir, and founded her own production company. She then went on to produce short fiction films, various commercials and institutional films. In 2002 she moved to Paris for the editing of her first feature Bedwin Hacker, and has lived there ever since. In 2008, she completed Ouled Lenine, which documents her father, who was one of the leaders of Tunisian Communist Party after the country’s independence. In 2011 El Fani released Neither Allah Nor Master! (Laïcité Inch’Allah!), inspiring outrage from conservative Tunisian Islamists, culminating in slander, hate speech, and death threats against her.

- Alina Isabel Pérez

Born 1975 in Sophia, Bulgaria. Alina Isabel Pérez is an artist and photographer. Following various exhibits in Havana in venues such as the Fototeca de Cuba, she has since participated in international photo exhibitions across the word, such as Paris-Photo, ARCO in Madrid, and the African Photography Biennial in Bamako, Mali. In 2012 she co-directed No Harm Done together with Nadia El Fani, which was to become her first work of cinema.