Two young girls - who have been neighbours and friends since they were children - experience their first amorous emotions. Myriam is engaged to Simon, a doctor who is much older than her. Nour loves her cousin Khaled, whom she wants to marry. One of the girls is Jewish, the other Muslim. The story is set in 1942, during the German occupation of Tunisia, as the Axis forces try to win over the Tunisian Muslim population in exchange for the promise of independence. The two young girls become close while everything conspires to separate them.Written by
The year is 1942. The Nazi's have taken North Africa (Tunesia,in this case),and are spreading their vile wave of anti Semetic propaganda to the Arab speaking citizens of Tunis (and are Hell bent on carrying out their agenda of ethnic cleansing,as well). Amid all of these vile goings on,are two lifelong friends,Myriam,a Sephadic Jew,and Noor,an Arab,both young girls,about 16 years old,and are preparing for an arranged marriage. Myriam (played by Lizzie Brochere),is engaged to marry a much older man,a doctor transplanted from France,Raoul (Simon Abkarian),whom Myriam doesn't like one tiny bit (and no surprise,what so ever,as Raoul just drips with contempt that we all find out as the story unfolds),while Noor (played by Olympe Borval)who,although is arranged to marry Khaled (an Islamic extremist in the making,making him not much better than Raoul,played by Najib Oudghiri),her marriage has been called off by her stern father,due to Khaled's lack of work (although he is courting the prospects of going to work for the Germans,who claim to be a friend & ally of the Arabs. With the prospects of Nazi anti Semitism looming,the once peaceful relationships between Jews & Arabs threatens to disintegrate Myriam & Noor's long lasting friendship. Karin Albou,who directed the superb 'La Petite Jerusalem',writes & directs (as well as acts out the role of Noor's Mother,Tita) this sad on the surface, but uplifting drama that is also a meditation on cultural & religious differences (we get a taste of both Jewish & Arab culture). The cinematography is a treat for the eye,balancing muted colours with some Earth tones. The musical score is an eclectic mix of some traditional Arab & Jewish folk musics,with some unexpected bursts of modern music (the use of a piece of music by Nina Hagen is a nice counterpoint to all of the Nazi mayhem that transpires at times). This is a toothsome piece of drama that some will dismiss as little more than an "art house" chick flick,but don't let the "nay sayers" discourage you from seeing it. Spoken in Arabic & French (with a wee bit of German)with English subtitles. Not rated by the MPAA,this film contains full frontal female nudity,sexual content,a most distressing preparation scene for a traditional Jewish bride that is just as difficult to watch as some of the goings on in Lars Von Trier's 'Anti Christ' & some rude language (leave the little ones home)
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