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When Maryam Spoke Out (2001)

Lamma hikyit Maryam (original title)
Ziyad and Maryam are a happy young couple in Lebanon, yet after three years of marriage they remain childless. Due to intense family pressure, they try everything they can but eventually ... See full summary »

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8 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bernadette Hodeib ...
Maryam
Talal El-Jordi ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Renée Dick
Umaya Lahoud
Reem Saleh ...
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Storyline

Ziyad and Maryam are a happy young couple in Lebanon, yet after three years of marriage they remain childless. Due to intense family pressure, they try everything they can but eventually learn that Maryam is infertile. Ziyad repeatedly reassures her of his undying love, but family and social pressure, particularly his evil, meddling mother, gradually poison their happy relationship until the love, enthusiasm and humour of their early days soon take a tragic turn. Written by Anonymous

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15 May 2003 (Australia)  »

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When Maryam Spoke Out  »

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Official submission of Lebanon the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 75th Academy Awards in 2003. See more »

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A window into an unknown culture
23 March 2003 | by (Champaign, IL) – See all my reviews

Lamma Hikyit Mariam is an excellent movie that speaks to people across time, language, and culture. Lebanon has seen few movies since the end of the war, and those that have come out usually are about the war. This one isn't.

Lamma Hikyit Mariam is about love, family pressure and expectations, and hope. And yes, it is very critical. Note a veiled, and therefore Muslim, Mariam ('Mary' in Arabic) who, contrary to the traditional Christian Mary who had a child but no husband, has a husband but cannot conceive a child. Bernadette Hodeib is absolutely amazing in this role. The rest of the actors could have done a better job -they get too theatrical and not natural enough at times, but they don't spoil the movie.

For Arabs, especially the more conservative, this is a challenging movie that may be hard to digest at first, but I think it gets its message across very well. For those not familiar with Arab culture, this is a touching window into the Arab culture. Despite its religious offset, this movie destroys all the stereotypes one may have. It shows the complexity of the culture and the way different people deal with it.

The music is very well chosen. The wedding scene when Mariam dances to Ilham el Madfai's "sharabtak el mai" ("I offered you water to drink") is heartbreaking, and it is only at the end that we understand why water is such a strong image that repeatedly reoccurs.

Hopefully this excellent low-budget movie will encourage more young (and older) Lebanese directors to step forward and dare do their thing and express themselves. It speaks so well to all who watch it, and absolutely everyone learns something by watching it. Let's also hope it makes it into the West.


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