Story of a young woman journalist who becomes enmeshed in the politics of the annexation of Morrocco from Algeria at the turn of the twentieth century. The focus is on her hardships because...
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Story of a young woman journalist who becomes enmeshed in the politics of the annexation of Morrocco from Algeria at the turn of the twentieth century. The focus is on her hardships because she is a woman in an Arab culture, although her determination carries her to a point of being somewhat of a phenomena in her work. Written by
BOB STEBBINS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The story of the brief life (1877-1904) of French-Russian-Swiss traveler and writer Isabelle Eberhardt, this dark little film is almost impossible to find. I saw it years ago on IFC a couple of times, but haven't been able to find it in any other format.
This movie is wildly uneven in style, but does manage to touch on many of the salient points of Isabelle's life, including her relationship with the French military governor of Morocco, Lyautey, who is played here by Peter O'Toole in a clever bit of casting. We all associate O'Toole with the desert and Lawrence of Arabia, and the scenes here of the two of them walking together, she in her stylish new Arab threads, seems to be almost a passing of the torch. The fact that the real Isabelle died long before Lawrence ever set foot in Arabia is irrelevant. This is purely a gesture of cinematic homage.
I also like the way the film drives home the desperation of Isabelle's poverty throughout life, and the way that she and her fellow souls are constantly pushed to the margins by the need to keep sickness and starvation at bay. Paul Schutze's moody film score helps these scenes immensely.
This movie is a minor gem, imperfectly realized, maybe, but unique. I wish somebody would see fit to release it on DVD.
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