Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Tender, heart-stirring, and resolutely feminist, Maryam Touzani’s film tells the story of two women who come together in a time of need for both. Samia (Nisrin Erradi) is pregnant and single, Abla (Lubna Azabal) a widowed mother; in patriarchal Morocco, the absence of men in their lives is a major liability. When we first meet her, Samia is looking for work and shelter in crowded Casablanca. After an initial refusal, Abla reluctantly takes her in, and from there we follow the women as they slowly become friends…
Defiant and resolute, Samia wears her intentions on her sleeve, and Touzani helps paint the character by working outward from her eyes: wide and unwavering, they almost dominate the screen at times. Erradi plays this woman with a quiet intensity, and the same goes for Azabal as the pain-stricken Abla; it takes no more than an instant to read the years of hard experience in her face. This film is an act of compassion - for its fictional women and for those in our world who experience the same pain, the same passion, the same struggles.
"[B]eautifully made… an unabashed love letter to motherhood." - Jay Weissberg, Variety