SELECTED: CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2019
A remarkably beautiful story set in Casablanca’s old city, that was selected for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. The film, directed by first-time filmmaker Maryam Touzani, features two superb performances in the lead roles. Lubna Azabal (Paradise Now, The Honourable Woman) plays Abla, a solemn widow, with a lively young daughter, scraping a living selling baked goods from her ground floor window. A pregnant young woman from the country, Samia (Nisrin Erradi), knocks on her door seeking work and shelter. Alba’s not unsympathetic to her plight, but she’s anxious to maintain her good reputation, so shuts the door in Samia’s face. Inevitably Abla’s compassion wins out, with a little nudging from her daughter Warda, and Samia joins the household revealing herself to be warm-hearted, pragmatic and an expert baker. With a few hiccups along the way, she gradually breaks down Alba’s stern and bitter shell, and in return Alba encourages Samia to love her unborn child. Touzani’s emotional story is simple but never less than compelling, enhanced by its setting, classic Arabic music and unforgettable characters.