drama | NR | 1hr 20min
Opening at GFC: 12/13/2019
When twenty-year-old Sofia buckles over in pain during a family gathering, her cousin Lena whisks her off to a hospital, telling her traditional family she is taking her to the pharmacy to seek relief from a stomach ache. In fact, Sofia has gone into labor without knowing she was pregnant. From here, writer-director Meryem Benm’Barek embarks the viewer on a nightmarish journey that is all-too-real in the repressive context of Morocco, where pre-marital sex is a criminal offense: Lena must implore a doctor to allow her unmarried cousin to deliver at his facility, where Sofia is dismissed immediately after the birth and enjoined to come back with the father or face prosecution. Holding her newborn daughter, Sofia leads her cousin to one of Casablanca’s slums, in search of the father she barely knows. The ensuing familial and legal crisis provides a damning portrait of a society where antiquated values vie with a pervasive cynicism. Yet Benm’Barek’s confidence as a storyteller, particularly in delivering a stunning third-act twist, lifts Sofia above the level of social protest to reveal a profoundly complex, endlessly fascinating reality.
Maha Alemi, Lubna Azabal, Sarah Perles
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