“My Sense of Modesty” will be airing on TV5MONDE Cinema On Demand starting on Friday, May 1. This short film is part of the 19th Annual Colcoa French Film Festival. So if you missed the festival you can watch some short films that are part of it thanks to TV5MONDE. So “My Sense of Modesty,” was directed by Sebastien Bailly. It’s about a young woman named Hafsia (played by Hafsia Herzi), who is an art history student. She is tested and given the opportunity to speak openly about her views on women in a male dominated society and about her own culture and beliefs while doing her exam.
It’s an very interesting short that first makes us wonder why we judge others beliefs and secondly, how is our society depicting gender. In a matter of 20 minutes this video is both about art and about social commentary. The scene where Hafsia and her father are sitting together shows how women in her culture are depicted. Also it depicted how different French culture and Hafsia’s culture is. Her teacher warn her not to wear her Hijab while she does her exam. The teacher tells her right out people in France don’t talk about their beliefs. For Hafsia, she sees it as modesty. When she explains the art subject, the naked woman still covers her hair for modesty.
When her boyfriend calls it a veil, Hafsia is quick to action. It doesn’t seem that she thinks that it constricts her, but what she does see is that women in her society and other societies aren’t always thought of as well humans! She does though you can notice have thoughts about her culture while she talks about the art and from the painting staring at it.
In the end we get to see that Hafsia does life her way and that the Hijab isn’t going to constrict her life. The art exam and last scene is the bravest. The movie shows her as your average young woman. She has a career path, she has a love interest, and she stands for what she believes in. Even if it’s different in others eyes. It’s a pretty good short film that shows a lot in a mere minutes. One thing that was interesting to see was when the director took the viewer to her family. You saw that her and her sister were pretty much different people. So overall it’s an interesting social issues short that has a lot to say in little time.
The director shared an interesting interview with All About Indie Filmmaking about why he wanted to make the film. He wanted to open up minds and have people see the Hijab differently and he was inspired by all the young Arabic women he sees in Paris. He learned that a lot of them don’t really just do it for religious senses. He also shared that he’s not for or against the Hijab. He just wanted to show another reality than the one that the French media shows. Personally, it looks like he got what he wanted in that.