1948 and the question of land...
Border and Checkpoints
In both The Syrian Bride & Rana's Wedding, a woman’s marriage plans are strained due to the presence of border and checkpoints respectively.
Three different films but all tied together by images of a female foiled by man made borders. The following image of a bride in a white dress heading towards the border in The Kite can be found in The Syrian Bride as well.
Internal problemsSometimes one’s problems are not created by a border but by friction within a nation’s boundaries. The two Algerian films Barakat and Rachida show how the consequences of internal struggle can effect the daily lives of people.
In Barakat it is civil war while in Rachida it is terrorism that causes fear in the population. In both films, women are the main characters who overcome their fear and find new strength to carry on. Interestingly, both films are also tied in another way -- the lead actress of Barakat is Rachida Brakni and her first name forms the title and character name of the other film.
Youth and life on the streets
The Moroccan film Ali Zaoua packs quite a punch in depicting the life of streets kids in Casablanca. While it is heart breaking to see young kids miss their childhood and head straight into an adult life of gangs and crime, credit must be given to director Nabil Ayouch for balancing the harsh street realities with a fantasy tale. The fantasy tale, which forms the basis of the title character’s quest to find an elusive land with two suns, lends a sprinkling of hope to the film. Such is the strength of Ali Zaoua’s belief that his friends go to great lengths to fulfill his wish and in turn give their lives a purpose as well.
All about the girl and some falafel...
What a Wonderful World
It is indeed a wonderful world. Every frame of Faouzi Bensaïdi ‘s What a Wonderful World is poetic and beautiful. Even though the wonderful individual parts of the film do not add up to a coherent whole, it is hard to resist the charms of this unique film. What a Wonderful World is a mesmerizing mix of a French comedy (references to Jacques Tati), a Spy spoof, a musical and a love story.
Films seen as part of this spotlight and in order of preference:
Salt of the Sea (2007, Palestine co-production, Annemarie Jacir)
What a Wonderful World (2007, France/Morocco, Faouzi Bensaïdi)
Ali Zaoua (2000, Morocco co-production, Nabil Ayouch)
Falafel (2004, Lebanon/France, Michel Kammoun)
Rachida (2002, Algeria/France, Yamina Bachir)
Enough! (2006, Algeria, Djamila Sahraoui)
The Kite (2003, Lebanon co-production, Randa Chahal Sabag)