Lea Hjort Mathiesen
In the Tunisian capital of Tunis, 11-year-old Malek spends every day fencing alongside Yassmine, her best friend who is also her fencing opponent. Yassmine has already won her first gold medal and is better at the sport than Malek. We follow the young girl in the run-up to a major tournament – a time when a lot is expected of Malek. Filmed in a poetic observational style, we see the two girls sitting on a wall talking about boys, in the training room where Malek endures her coach’s less-than-gentle criticism, and in the courtyard of the fencing school where the girls have just been up to some mischief. With an eye for detail and subtle humour, director Lea Hjort Mathiesen captures how the tough girl transforms from a madcap tomboy into a young woman, with new feelings and strong emotions. At the same time, the film lovingly portrays a close friendship that is put under pressure by the demands of growing up.