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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 »


Assad Fouladkar


Assad Fouladkar
8 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Bernadette Hodeib Bernadette Hodeib ... Maryam
Talal Jurdi Talal Jurdi ... Ziyad (as Talal El-Jordi)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Renée Dick Renée Dick
Umaya Lahoud Umaya Lahoud
Reem Saleh Reem Saleh ... Girl


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

User Reviews

This film raising important question about the traditional relationships between male and female
22 May 2003 | by fasisamiSee all my reviews

It is the story of Mariam who's being forced to separate from her husband and lover because she couldn't give birth to children. According to Islamic text this film asking an important question about the future of woman rights in Islamic context. Islamic 'fatwas' or rules going to be challenged by discussing this kind of issues, This is one of the important base of Islamic religion, It will also pressure the 'Ijtihad' or explanation of the religious text to confort Muslim women, The holly Kuraan didn't insist on 4 marriage because one man cannot be fare to four women the aya or the reference ends "ayat alnekah" the reference of marriage ends with "...you can not be fare". "cannot" is a confirmation in the Arabic language. Imagine the same story happening with two educated Muslim couple, I mean educated by their religion and by science, what would be the solution for a problem like Mariam problem?. What if those two couples living in Australia or America? Islam in the west read the Koraan according to their influences from the western justice and they able to choose fair decisions can be taken under Islamic rules and the result, you don't believe how much is closer to the judgment of the western law. Fouladkar film raise an important question about justice according to human feelings. It is very important subject in Islam and it is what I like about Islamic religion that always support humanistic choices. I as multi religious person and as a filmmaker I saw this film as a global subject and you cannot see it as local. It is based on the local to question the global. It is a strong drama that we felt like staying in the cinema after the film finished, sharing the depth of the drama, sadness created by stupid mentality still in power in third world society, I didn't feel any time in the film that it is talking about a situation happened only in Arabic countries. The story is universal and I interviewed my English friend about it she said this kind of human condition exist every where. She likes the way the actress facing the camera, in the video. I loved the visual and sexual parts and the dripping of the water, which I never expected to be explained in that dramatic way in the film, I thought it is strange these couple having sex always in the bath but I choked that it was washing the dead body. what I saw was completely new. The reading cannot be superficial, because it is about re-acting real story.

for me the actresses were great in the film they felt very natural especially the main character who act with her soft feminine presence the loss of female in front of rigid rules. all the other actors were chosen perfectly for their roles.

The choice of the performers was great, also the choice of the locations it remind me of the Iranian cinema.

I appreciated the way Fouladkar juxtaposed the idea of death and sex together in the film, it is very strong it can't be stronger, the way he insert the video, which can be considered as an experimental type of film, into the fiction film is also very successful. What is also important in the drama that it stood up for love, at the end she said she is happy because she loved him, and he is not happy because he betrayed his feelings following rigid rules, it goes deeply into female soft human feelings and behaviour and that what make this film in my opinion very important facing the rules that undermine women in the western and the eastern culture.

I wanted to know more whether Mariam educated or not because the way she told her story in the video came from an intellectual background. For her to talk about the happiness of loving and the sadness of not being able to discover love, is an intellectual discussion.

I always wished that someone would go artistically through this section of female life conflicts without falling in the banality of life, it is easy to fail dramatically in this kind of subjects into the melodrama. Fouladkar did work on a very real subject but pass the exam of working on domestic issue like an experienced director. Simplicity, softness of the characters, the sensuality of the subject and the choice of the places were very important choice that kept the drama in its vacinity.

I liked the way the director introduced the veil in a Lebanese manner, it is there like a little mask women hide under it but it is variable, old generation used it different than the young generation, there is also the non veiled women. We see also Mariam naked many times, nudity interpreted in the film as the main line which connected the film together visually he analyzed it to shape death and the pain of body separation, it also represent the character age, her pain was first because of the physical sexual natural context, she is young and enjoying her first sexual experience, the "baren" issue came to cut this happiness of the friendship and sexual experience, questioning whether the woman feeling cost any thing in traditional societies, showing the fight between two generations, where the husband failed to respect his feelings and his generation but the woman did. The rigid rules driven by women' mothers', I always thought of women as the powerful force who kept women in a dreadful situation but not only man and religion. Successfully Fouladkar shows how female are relying on the male income to survive by the example of the second wife and the ladies in the fortune teller shop who is trying to get control over the groum who is overseas because of his certificate.

Beyond the simple story there is huge intellectual discussions about life, death, rules marriage, love etc. people who watch film with certain expectations, cannot follow this film because it broke the expectation of the audience with limited views, it raise questions from the local Lebanese relationships of male female but pictured the relation between man and women as global issue in the background " the filmmaker".

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Release Date:

15 May 2003 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

When Maryam Spoke Out See more »

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