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One to treasure,
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This review is from: The Source [DVD]  (DVD)
I have already seen The Concert by the same director (Radu Mihaileanu), which I think is an absoluite cracker of a film, and I was intrigued to see what he would do with a story set in North Africa, particularly as I have lived in Algeria for most of the last ten years. I was not disappointed. This film is brilliant.
The basic premise of the film is fairly simple - the women of the village are tasked with fetching water from the source in the mountains every day, with all the associated hardships that that represents. One day, led by Leila Bekhti (who is a revelation), they decide to revolt and withhold sex from their husbands until something is done about this.
Through this simple idea, the film reveals that there are many facets to the problem. The most important is the whole question of the role of women in a small Moroccan village, but at the same time, the director is not unsympathetic to why the men behave in the way they do. Although much of their behaviour is just old fashioned sexism, he also shows that they have been overtaken by evolutions in society which have essentially deprived them of their livelihood and their pride. We see that another factor in the problem of water is the entrenched attitudes of civil servants, who are too lazy to do anything about it, and who try to encourage the men to think that by doing so, they are protecting male dominance in the village.
There is also a complex and moving love story involving Bekhti and her husband, as well as a story about a former love who comes to the village. The film also looks at the way in which strangers are integrated (or not) into the village and into the family by marriage, and there is a shrewd examination of the differing attitudes between generations.
The film is completely different from The Concert, but both films are fabulous. Enjoy!