When one human being meets another, borders can magically disappear. Frédérique Cournoyer Lessard’s documentary Rue de la Victoire illustrates this idea beautifully, as the director follows the difficult journey of a young Tunisian named Mohamed. Their shared passion for circus arts allows the two protagonists to establish ties and develop a deep friendship. Their passion acts as a bridge between their cultures and religions. Frédérique thus gains access to the life of a Tunisian Muslim family and recognizes herself in it, thousands of kilometres away from home.
Mohamed’s passion for the circus is so strong that it pushes him to leave his country in the midst of the revolution in order to pursue his career in exile. Circus culture in Tunisia is non-existent, but this art form speaks from the depths of his heart. Although he doesn’t have the same training as European or American circus artists, he manages to make himself understood through his art and his performances—the passion is infectious.
In spite of our differences, it is our passions and strong, fundamental values that allow us to connect with others and recognize ourselves in them. We have to put aside preconceived ideas and notions of right and wrong in order to reach a level of understanding of the other that allows this kind of connection, because what works for some may be useless for others. It takes a lot of humility—difference can bring us face to face with our own flaws. But as the saying goes, only fools and dead men don’t change their minds. Being humble and open to discussion is the best way to connect through difference and discover that, deep down, we are not so different after all.