Prior to the view of Adam of Moroccan Maryam touzani I was very interested in that, but some movies sneak in under your skin. Young Samia (Nisrin Erradi) tries to get a job in a beauty salon, but when she asks to stay at work, she is asked to leave. High-pregnant, she calls at a door and offers to be a maid, but is quickly rejected.
Broad-legged and heavy, she sits down on the opposite side of the street and waits.
Shame, sadness and sensuality
Abla (Lubna Azabal – known from Oscar nominees Nawal's secret), who lives in the house with his eight-year-old daughter, strongly dislikes this demonstrative location just outside his own door. From a hatch in the house wall, she sells simple baked goods to a regular small clientele. The daughter in the house is very interested in the expectant mother. The two quickly find a nice and playful contact that contrasts with their mother's bleak and controlled manner.
The film is, as you can easily imagine, a portrait of friendship between women. At the same time, we do not get the constructive or tear-jerking relationship that Hollywood often serves us; this is sensual, sore and strongly confrontational. The film dares to delve into grief, shame and awakening a buried sensuality.
The expectant mother, Samia, treads on sore toes she did not know she had and is told to leave the house at dawn. The darkness of the house is not in the shadows, but in what is not to be mentioned. The hidden trauma has tapped Abla for all the joy of life, and she can't bear to be reminded of what she has lost. She can't even hear her favorite music anymore. The home has become a prison where life is kept tight at bay until the uninvited woman steps in and turns everything around. The strong and controlled Abla meets resistance and is forced back to life.
The film is confident that regardless of marital status, it is a human right to nurture one
Samia tries to feed until she has given birth (and adopted away) the child, then plans to return to the village she comes from. To the waiting family, she pretends to be in a full-time job.
Adam surprises not only in the turns the narrative takes, but in its human insight and authenticity. The film forces you into an embrace that holds you tight as the demons rage in the main characters.
Just as full, the film is low-key and sober. Flour is sieved, dough is kneaded and crushed. Hot women's bodies are in constant rocking work and put me in a meditative state. As I squint against the canvas, I no longer see two proud women surviving everything, I glimpse a painting by the old Dutch master Vermeer: the scarves on the head, the aprons, the light and the domestic chores. I have stepped into the motif and am within the ability of women to provide life whatever their time and place. The rhythm of the kneading is known, it has the rhythmic progress and security of the parenting melody. It shines through motherly and sisterly fellowship.
Children outside of marriage
I try to immerse myself constantly in these vivid portraits of flesh and blood and throbbing needs. The little bakery is gone, I only see the two and know their pain and togetherness. But it's not just me who watches them. At the back of the palate I know the taste of what the great painter master captured, an invisible bond between women where there is always room for an unfortunate to enter the fold. A nourishing place where grief and misfortune heals. The aesthetics are classic, but the themes are brutal.
Adam forces you into an embrace that holds you tight while the demons ravage the main characters.
Touzani settles with a long and painful tradition. The situation for women who have children outside of marriage in Morocco is often far worse than what is portrayed in the film. Touzani, who has previously written two feature films, gives the ugly story hope. During the growing friendship, not only is Samia challenged, but the given story that every child out of wedlock is undesirable in Morocco.
This quaint and close film is gunpowder. It rises to centuries of scandalization and exclusion of unmarried mothers and their children in the kingdom under the Atlas Mountains. The film is neither educational nor moral, it goes without saying that regardless of civil status, it is a human right to raise one's own child.
The film will be shown on Film fra Sør 2020.
The film will be shown at Arab Film Days in Oslo, 18–22. March 2019.