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 »
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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
Another female-centric movie which is somewhat Karmen Gaei meets Sirens. Karmen Gaei being a similarly African film with long sequences of song-and-dance, and Sirens being a middle-aged woman who discovers new found sexuality within her.
This movie starts off somewhat languidly, and lulls you into a sleepy mood. The main protaganist, Lilia, a beautiful widow, goes about her sheltered life comfortably. Everyday she goes to the market, chats on the phone and fusses over her daughter, much to the latter's chargrin. She entombs herself with memories of her late husband together in the apartment. In one of her many quests to control her daughter, she accidentally stumbles onto a cabarat a few streets from her house. Ever so slowly, the movie merges her mundane world with the frenzy of the cabarat world. The cabarat has an irresistable charm, with its incessant drumbeats, and riots of colours that draw people like flies to the light. And that is what happens to Lilia. To the rest of us, it is a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, just like Karmen Gaei, the song-and-dance sequence goes on for far too long for non-africans. The terrible pacing, which is a blasphemy in the western world of CGI and action, snuffs out whatever interest is left of the viewer.
The one good saving point of this movie is the portrayal of Tunisian society. The titanic struggle between secularism and Islam, the east and west, the young and old, conservatism and liberation, threatens to boil over at some point, but they never do. Somehow the Tunisian society resolve these issues much more elegantly than say, more fundamentalist Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia or Egypt.
Watching this movie makes me feel I've just been to the modern city of Tunis to pay a visit to a boring aunt for the weekend.
Rating : 5.0
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