Film and TV

Girl Power

It's a family affair when widowed, repressed Lilia (Hiyam Abbas) and her spunky daughter Salma (Hend El Fahem) just can't get enough of a suave drummer, Chokri (Maher Kamoun). This bold and lyrical first feature from Raja Amari expands the pat notion that middle-aged women just wanna have fun into a rousing treatise of sensual empowerment. Abbas is magnetic as Lilia, trapped in a dire rut until she explores a cabaret of raqs sharqi--or belly dancing--where the robust dancer Folla (Monia Hichri) takes her under her bouncing, bulbous wings and teaches her to fly. The nuances of the performances--in dialogue and dance--and the rich, organic feel of the locations mark Amari as a director of significant promise. Her stridently feminist tone is a little iffy, though, from random derision against blondes to a very presumptuous leap of logic about male behavior. That aside, it's strong work, so let's hope Hollywood plans a few remakes and she gets to do it again.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gregory Weinkauf