January 29, 2003
Writer/director Coline Serreau (Three Men and a Cradle) takes a look at the treatment of women in society. She draws parallels between Islamic societies (Algeria) and the Western World (France). Among the stars of the film are Catherine Frot (The Dinner Game) and Vincent Lindon (Vendredi Soir).
Paul (Lindon) and his wife Helene (Frot) witness the beating of a young woman (Rachida Brakni) at the hands of a gang of thugs. While Helene feels a great deal of concern for the woman, Paul doesn’t want to get involved. He wipes the blood from his car’s windshield and drives off with Helene in tow.
Helene feels a great amount of guilt for their inaction and tracks down the mystery girl to a local hospital, where she is in a coma. Helene continues to stay with this girl as she recovers. Soon she learns the girls name is Malika and gets an earful about her family background and rough life on the streets. Malika fled from an arranged marriage to a much older man and was forced into prostitution. And her life is still in danger from her former “associates”. The two are thrown together by their commonality of being used by the men in their lives. Helene’s growing self-awareness and Malika’s street savvy make for a powerful combination for revenge.
The performances from the cast are strong, especially from the young Brakni. She was recently recognized for her performance by being awarded the prize for Most Promising Actress at the 2002 Cesar Awards, which is France’s version of the Oscars™. You should see this intriguing film at your local independent film venue soon. (Marty Doskins/BOP)