“Adam” (PG) ****
DIRECTOR Maryam Touzani has set her debut film in Casablanca. It could have been any city with a large Muslim population. There’s no politics or religion in it.
Here’s what leading American critic Jay Weissberg says about it: “Taking the stories of two women, both frozen in existential stasis, and bringing them together in a predictable yet deeply satisfying manner, the writer-director ensures this scrupulously even two-hander about grief, shame, and the redemption of motherhood doles out emotional comfort food that’s neither too sweet nor too heavy.”
A widow with a delightful six-year-old daughter, Abla (Lubna Azabal) ekes out a living selling bakery delights from the kitchen of her apartment. Pregnant Samia (Nisrin Erradi) is living on the street. Abla shoos her away from her doorstep.
The Muslim hospitality ethic eventually leads Abla to change her mind. Samia is determined that when her baby is born she will put it out for adoption.
What begins as an uncomfortable change of Abla’s heart develops into a relationship from which both women make important discoveries about themselves. That’s what the film is about. I watched it alone and was enchanted by it.
The strong beauty of Lubna Azabal will be with her decades hence and her talent for conveying wordless emotion is powerful. Nisrin Erradi’s poignant portrayal of a woman with a difficult future matches it.
Call yourself a cineaste? Don’t miss this one.
At Palace Electric