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Much is heard about the ability of Jews and Muslims to live together in relative peace and harmony in medieval Spain and later in French North Africa, and it's hard to know to what extent this was really true. Angel Vasquez in his novel, "La vida perra de Juanita Narboni", set in Tangier, certainly made it such peaceful co-existence seem both possible and real. And certainly the ambiance of North Africa is present in "The Wedding Song", which combines some of the sexual tension present in "Wedding in Galilee" with the wartime tension of "Battle of Algiers."
The German have occupied North Africa, and neither Muslim nor Jew really have any reason to love the French, who treated their colonial subjects like dirt. Given a choice between supporting the French or the Germans, I couldn't fault the North Africans in the movie for feeling sympathy for Germany or for working for Germans. In fact, this very French sort of moral conundrum works well in a film that is full of moral conundrums.
Concerning the sexuality and...gasp...full frontal nudity...found in "The Wedding Song", this movie is probably not for a pre-teen since the movie is really about the status of women...in a foreign culture, and, thus, is going to be over the heads of most pre-teens. That would seem to make the film an "R" rather than a "PG-13" (though I wouldn't be surprised if our censors gave it an "NC-17" because in a lots of ways, we in the "liberal" west aren't much more enlightened on sex and nudity than the ayatollahs in Iran). I certainly wouldn't have any problem though with my teenage son or daughter seeing this movie if he or she were interested in the culture or the topic (they're not going to see it at the cineplex, so we're talking about whether I would rent it and then let them watch it). But don't worry, worried parents, to most American teens this movie is of no interest and I doubt your kids will want to watch it at home with you). Yes, the sexuality *is* occasionally erotic, but more often than not, it's realistic and not very sexy by Hollywood standards. There is nothing pornographic about the sexuality whatsoever...unless you're one of those people who finds the human body to be an abdomination and all nudity unholy.
Finally, is "The Wedding Song" a chic flick? I would say definitely NO. But are more women than men likely to take an interest in the topic of women's rights in a Muslim country? Sadly the answer is probably yes. In the end I just couldn't really buy into the relationship between the two young protagonists. Still, interesting, well-crafted films from North Africa/the Middle East don't ever make it to the cineplex, and there is plenty of suspense and action in "The Wedding Song", so I think thoughtful, thinking people will find this film worth a watch. By the way, I would give both "Wedding in Galilee" and "Battle of Algiers" a 10/10.
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