After the death of her husband, Lilia's life revolves solely around her teenage daughter, Salma. Whilst looking for Salma late one night, Lilia stumbles upon a belly dance cabaret and ... See full summary »
After the death of her husband, Lilia's life revolves solely around her teenage daughter, Salma. Whilst looking for Salma late one night, Lilia stumbles upon a belly dance cabaret and though initially reserved and taken aback by the culture of the place, Lilia gets consistently drawn back to it. She befriends one of the belly dancers and is encouraged into dancing for the audience. Lilia also starts a romance with one of the cabaret's musicians, who unbeknown to both of them, is also romancing Salma. Written by
As a gay man, I feel that "Satin Rouge" has a very gay sensibility. Anyone who has ever braved society's strictures to come out of the closet will have a visceral understanding of what Lilia goes through as she voyages from the purdah of widowhood to the freedom of belly dancing in a cabaret.
I kept wondering how "Satin Rouge" would look and feel if the film had been made by another director in another country. Specifically, I found "Satin Rouge" and its characters very reminiscent of Pedro Almodovar (whose work also has a gay sensibility). If the film had been made in the United States, it would probably have to have a gay male lead character coming out into drag. I really can't compare the belly dancers of Tunisia -- at least as they are presented in "Satin Rouge" to anything other than American drag queens. To have the main character take up stripping in a nightclub, or hooking on the streets, would not be at all the same.
In any case, "Satin Rouge" kept my interest up right to the very end. It was the kind of movie that could have gone either of two ways. It could have ended both comically and tragically. There are certainly laughs along the way, but some of them were nervous laughs. I won't spoil your viewing pleasure by telling you how the movie finally turns out.
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