Set in Paris in the 1990s, Honey Cigar follows Selma, an Algerian-French college student, on her sexual awakening. A coming of age film about family, identity, misogyny, and a sense of home both within yourself and without.
Selma walks between worlds, her parents’ Algerian home where even to kiss a boy is scandalous, and the highly-sexed French college culture where to be a virgin is bizarre and humilating. Selma has to negotiate her own desires through this tug of war, while global patriarchy pervades all, ensuring you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
As she tries to find a path authentic to her needs, around her everything is falling apart. Her parents’ marriage is crumbling, Algeria is crumbling. Civil War has come, and divorce might follow. As Selma tries to build her identity, the fixed points around her start shifting like sand.
At some point in this film, the ambition for more becomes the ambition to just hold on to what is there. The impetus for advancement swells like a wave, and then rolls back, as the good times seem to recede. Selma’s parents go from enforcing a strict and structured environment to being even more lost than her.
Honey Cigar is a movie about when to hold on and when to let go, and learning to tell the difference.