"Quand ils ont enfoncé la porte pour voir d'où ça venait et qu'ils m'ont vu couché à côté, ils se sont mis à gueuler au secours quelle horreur mais ils n'avaient pas pensé à gueuler avant parce que la vie n'a pas d'odeur." -Momo
Mused by Sarah Alaoui at 3:41 AM
This week, I went to a pre-screening of a new film by French-Iranian director Jacques Bral: Le noir (te) vous va si bien (roughly, 'Black suits you'). It was by accident that I decided to watch it--I'd walked by the cinema and saw the poster with a woman dressed in a black hijab and covering. The title was intriguing and I saw that the director and some of the actors would be there so it was the perfect formula for a discussion on possible relevant themes that may be touched upon in the film: perhaps the veil, women, Islam, Islam in the West, etc...
Based on the director's Iranian origins and the movie poster, I assumed the movie would be about women in Iran or veiled women in some part of the world. Bref, I then saw the trailer and it turned out that the movie was set in France and would discuss the story of a veiled woman who falls in love with a French man (read 'white non-Muslim French man'). Okay, that was cool too. I was even more excited to watch the film and speak to the crew because even though the plot idea of forbidden love in France had been played out on screen multiple times (see: Rengaine) given the large Arab minority in the country, I was still intrigued by the movie and hoped it would provide an original approach to the subject...perhaps discuss something that hadn't been discussed before.
The movie starts out with the father telling his daughter to arrange her hair (she had a wisp falling out from under her scarf)--though this was not done in an unpleasant way, we can still feel the tension between the father's expectations of how his daughter should dress and comport herself and the daughter herself. When this scene is later mentioned to the cast, one of the actors said that it was simply an act of love and not at all one of pressure on the father's part.
Without giving any more of the film away as it has not come out in theaters yet, and I do recommend watching it to form an opinion of your own, I just found it troublesome to present very potent symbols and depictions of stereotypes that many people have today of Islam and the Arab world (the actual religion and origins of the family are purposely not stated explicitly at any point in the film, but we can make a few educated guesses...) and not explore them further...presenting the movie simply as a 'love story' (love between the father and daughter, daughter and the boys in the movie, mother and father, etc...) is taking away from its potential value as a trigger of discussion of the very cultural and religious issues the director claims not to focus on.
This lovely part of the world...
I will be visiting one of my dearest friends from college, Elisabetta. Looking forward to a few days in the picturesque South before heading back to the gray North.
For now, I am spending the last few days of Ramadan--and Eid!--in Casablanca, then Marrakech. My first time spending the holy month here, makes it more real.
Bonnes vacances à tous!
Currently reading Anaïs Nin's A Spy in the House of Love. Thus far, not impressed by Sabine, the fluttery, overly dependent main female character. Constructs, deconstructs, and reconstructs her Self based on the men that surround her. Started reading it because I've read random Nin quotations that struck a chord, but if Sabine is the reflection of femininity and female power in Nin's eyes, then I may have to reconsider my appreciation for the woman...
Fun fact of the day: as of May of this year, France (1st world country) has no sexual harassment definition in its criminal code. All relevant pending cases have been cancelled.
Interesting fact to keep in mind when we 'sympathetically' (or is it empathetically) lament the plight of women in developing countries, eh?
From roughly the 16th to 18th centuries, parents in various countries including Denmark and the U.S. would pay teachers with food including fruit--most notably apples. Teachers and educators were not paid enough to afford their living, so parents would help them out by giving them potatoes and apples, for example. Why apples? During this time, they were considered a special and costly fruit because they were not very easy to grow and harvest. To show their appreciation for the work of teachers, they were rewarded with this fruit.
Where am I going with this? For my Wednesday English lessons, I have a discussion group of around 8 mostly women (and a man) ranging in age from their late 40s to 60s. Today, one of my 'pupils' who is married to a boulanger brought me a fresh baguette from their bakery. Such a sweet gesture, going to enjoy it with some blue cheese and apples, mmm. Toujours la gourmande :)
and my doctor isn't picking up his phone...probably taking a 3-hour lunch break, no big deal. Long live universal healthcare.