Florida Film Festival: Adam (2019)

Two women find themselves bonded in a world where they are shunned in this very solid film debut from director Maryam Touzani.

On the streets of Casablanca, Samia is a woman who has been looking for work and finds herself shunned on many occasions. When a young 8-year old named Warda notices Samia in front of her home, Warda’s mother Abla, like everyone else closes the door on her. However, that night, Abla seems Samia, who is revealed to be pregnant, on the street attempting to find a place to sleep. Letting her conscience get the best of her, Abla decides to temporarily let Samia in her home.

Abla works as a baker, selling msemen to customers on the street. Samia makes rziza, a stringy bread dessert for Warda and Abla becomes a bit impressed and thus, lets Samia stay on the condition she makes rziza for the customers. As Samia tells her story, Abla begins to realize that as a widow and mother and Samia soon to be a single mother to be, the two have something in common. However, both also have issues that may or may not break the bond of their newfound friendship.

More than just a drama, the film is based on a real-life event in the life of writer/director Maryam Touzani, whose husband produced the film. For a film debut, this is a compelling drama about two women who feel out of place and in the aspect of one, finds herself shunned by society. The characters of Abla and Samia are the driving focus of the film, with the former a single mother who wants a quiet life while Samia, despite her issue with being pregnant, finds herself bonding well with Warda, Abla’s daughter who longs for her mother to find happiness again.

Lubna Azabal is terrific in the role of bitter widow Abla. She is seen as someone who seems to be unable to move on from her husband’s passing and focuses on raising her daughter and making money via baking. Nisrin Erradi seems to be both the opposite and in a way similar to Abla in the role of Samia, a single mother-to-be whose situation forces her to be shunned as she is afraid to go home to her village with a baby and not have a husband. It is the situation where Abla invites Samia in her home that things get very interesting.

Douae Belkhaouda breaks out in the role of Warda, the young girl who first notices Samia and despite Abla’s reservations, sees the mother to be more as a big sister type. As for Abla, she is very well reserved until in a pivotal moment, Samia forces Abla to listen to music and shows her that she doesn’t have to always be angry. It is that moment that Abla becomes a bit more open minded and Samia is her guide, even attempting to set her up with Aziz Hattab’s very nervous and shy Slimani, who obviously has feelings for Abla. However, the movie does have its very emotional moments, especially in the third act, when Samia, considering a decision that could change her forever, eventually gives birth.

Adam is an emotional and dramatic study of two women who are both alike and different in the world of Moroccan culture. A very solid feature film debut for writer-director Maryam Touzani.

WFG RATING: A

Films Boutique presents an Ali’N/Nouveau Bande/Artesian production. Director: Maryam Touzani. Producer: Nabil Ayouch. Writer: Maryam Touzani. Cinematography: Virginie Surdej. Editing: Julie Naas.

Cast: Lubna Azabal, Nisrin Erradi, Douae Belkhaouda, Aziz Hattab.

If you’re in the Orlando area, the film will be screened on August 14 at 11:30am at the Enzian Theater (1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland FL 32751). For more on this and other films playing at the Florida Film Festival, go to http://www.floridafilmfestival.com.

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