Sofia Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsi. 2018. France / Qatar / Belgium / Morocco. 1hr 20mins. FFF-rated
Fri 23 April @ 8:00 am - Sun 23 May @ 5:00 pm
The breaking of her waters at a family gathering mean that 20-yr-old Sofia, daughter of a well-to-do Casablanca family, can no longer deny, to herself or anyone else, that she is pregnant. This will usher in serious consequences in a country – Morocco – where sex out of wedlock is an imprisonable offense. Whisked away by her cousin, she gives birth in a hospital which admits her on condition that she produce her husband within 24 hours or face the consequences. At this point you might anticipate a heartfelt, Western-Liberal denunciation of narrow-minded laws and expectations, but this is a far more nuanced and ambitious film than that, as the sullen, apparently meek Sofia transcends, in a most unexpected manner, the victimhood that seems to be her lot. A gripping, eye-opening exploration of class politics, women’s issues, social pressures and bureaucracy in modern Morocco, bought to life with a marvellous ensemble cast and assured direction.
“It’s rare to leave the cinema wishing a 90-minute film was longer, but Meryem Benm’Barek’s Sofia shows enough promise to demand a more substantial story… Benm’Barek is brilliant at capturing the unspoken body language that communicates so much…” – One Room With a View.
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