La source des femmes (2011) aka The Source

Discussion in '2011 Movies' started by BLUEPLANET, Aug 18, 2012.




    La source des femmes (2011) aka The Source

    In a remote and primitive patriarchal village between the North of Africa and the Middle East, the land has dried and the women traditionally bring water from a distant fountain to their houses while the idle husbands drink tea in the bar. The educated Leïla, who is the wife of the local teacher Sami, begins a sex strike movement among the women, supported by the elder Vieux Fusil (meaning old flintlock), to force the men to bring water to the village. There is a strong reaction from the brutal men, but the brave women resist until they achieve their goal. (IMDB)

    Radu Mihaileanu, the Romanian director behind French orchestral farce ‘The Concert’, travels to North Africa for another dramedy: this one about a village where the women withhold sex in order to replace an obsolete well. Yes, you read that correctly.

    It all begins when yet another woman loses her unborn child while on the dangerous path to the village’s water supply. Unwilling to ignore the perils in the name of ‘tradition’ any longer, Leila (Leïla Bekhti) begins a vocal campaign to get the increasingly lazy men of the community to pipe water direct to the village.

    But with elders who resent change, and pocket a healthy income from ‘tradition’-seeking tourists the women face firm opposition. But Leila and bullish old widow ‘Mother Rifle’ (Biyouna) have a trick left up their sleeves, or rather, their skirts. They marshal their feminine allies and resolve to abstain from sex until their demands are met.

    Leila’s supportive husband, and respected local schoolteacher, Sami (Saleh Bakri) may hold the key to bringing the men around, but as the conflict stretches tensions in the village to breaking point, a mysterious man appears. He’s there on the innocuous premise of writing an article about tiny beetles, yet somehow he seems to be getting Leila very agitated.

    Unlike ‘The Concert’, which launched rapidly into full-scale farce and thenceforth relied on broad-strokes to draw comedy from borderline stereotypical characters, ‘The Source’ is a slow, meandering tale that relishes its character details: and this new tactic from Mihaileanu works a charm.

    By giving us a strong sense of all the key characters in the village, from headstrong Leila with her mysterious past to her young friend Loubna (Hafsia Herzi) and her lovelorn correspondence with a boy from the neighbouring village, Mihaileanu creates a real sense of the community.

    This is important on two levels. Firstly it avoids the story descending into a parochial schmaltz fest in which the troubles of the village are reduced to mere trivia and any sense of peril lost in the midst of ‘small town charm’.

    Secondly, it means we’re instantly tapped into the conflict, and can appreciate the many comedies and dramas to their fullest extent. It’s difficult not to care about each point of view when you know what they’re all fighting for, or against. Whether it’s retaining tradition, and by association tourist’s cash, or avoiding the fists of a vengeful husband, every character has a genuine motive – and a personal journey within the broader conflict.

    It’s not just the social world that’s created so well here either. Visually, we’re transported to a vision of rural North Africa. The vibrant, red-hued countryside envelops the characters and their lifestyles, hemming them in with its poverty, but at the same time encasing them in its historic charms. The perfect venue for a meandering tale of the traditional battling the modern if ever there was one. (Mike Edwards)



    Video Info:
    File: BLUEPLANET-La_Source_Des_Femmes_2011.avi
    Size: 1573785600 bytes (1.47 GiB), duration: 01:59:39, avg.bitrate: 1754 kb/s
    Audio: ac3, 48000 Hz, 5:1, 384 kb/s
    Video: mpeg4, yuv420p, 704x384, 25.00 fps(r)
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