Jaime Rosales' Spanish masterpiece about (among other things) society, family, caring and terrorism runs two hours and fifteen minutes, while Philippe Faucon's (the filmmaker is shown at right) look at the immigrant experience in France lasts all of a mere 75 minutes. Yet in terms of reach and grasp coalescing, the film is near perfect.
TrustMovies had been voting for this particular award, his choice would have been Marguerite over Fatima for reasons of ambition, challenge and execution, though he loves both movies very much. And god knows, immigration (particularly from Arab countries) remains the hot-button issue worldwide and especially in France where, since (and probably long prior to) The Battle of Algiers, movies have been responding to life and political situations.
Soria Zeroual, shown above and further above), is a cleaning lady who works long hours to support her two daughters. Her husband (Chawki Amari, below, right) has left her for another woman, though he does make occasional appearances, gifting his daughters with merchandise like a new pair of sneakers.
Kenza Noah Aïche (above, left), can't seem to stifle that anger and so makes her mother's life more hellish than it needs to be, Fatima's older daughter, Nessrine (played by Zita Hanrot, below, left, of Eden and The New Girlfriend) is about to enter medical school and desperately needs more money, not to mention more confidence, to manage this. It is a testament to the filmmaker's skill that he handles all three actresses, as well as the rest of his diverse cast -- fledglings and pros -- so well that they appear a most believable family, within the fuller society at large.
Zakaria Ali-Mehidi, above, right, who plays Nessrine's new friend Sélim.) How M. Faucon introduces us to cultural habits involving dating and sexuality, as well as how important image and reputation are to the older generation, is handled particularly well -- with an understanding of both the positive and negative aspects involved.
Kino-Lorber, Fatima opens this Friday, August 26, in New York City at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and then on September 16 in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal. Elsewhere? Let's hope that, once word-of-mouth grows a bit, the film will find further venues. Click here and then click on PLAYDATES to keep up with future bookings.