The Man Behind the Microphone

    • Claire Belhassine
    • United Kingdom, Tunisia, Qatar
    • 2017
    • 98 min
    • World Premiere
    • Music Documentary
    It was quite by chance that Claire Belhassine discovered her grandfather had been a famous singer in Tunisia. The Man Behind the Microphone follows her quest to find out about his past and why she knew nothing about it. Her grandfather’s name was Hédi Jouini (1909-1990). He was known as "Tunisia’s Frank Sinatra," and he wrote around a thousand songs, appeared in films and contributed to the growing self-awareness in Tunisia, which became independent from France in 1956. Belhassine’s personal film tells more than one story: it's at once a chapter from musical history, a poignant family chronicle and a sociological account of changes in a country where Western and Arab influences merge. In interviews with her father, an uncle and two aunts, Belhassine comes to grips with the family dynamics, which her father Ferid describes as "very dysfunctional." Archive footage and home movies from her summer vacation in Tunis frame what the uncle dubs a "sad story," but one that nonetheless culminates in a regained sense of family and belonging.


    • 98 min
    • color / black and white
    • DCP
    • Spoken languages: French, English, Arabic
    • Subtitles in: English
    Claire Belhassine
    Claire Belhassine for Claire De Lune Films
    Executive producer
    Mike Lerner for Nutopia/Roast Beef, Olfa Rambourg for The Rambourg Foundation
    Patrick Jackson, Jay Odedra
    Joby Gee, Adam Finch

    IDFA history

    World Premiere
    Music Documentary

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    IDFA history

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