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Women’s Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran

Friday, April 10, 2009
6:30 p.m. A Door to the Sky
Farida Ben Lyazid (Morocco/Tunisia/France, 1989)

(Bab al-sama maftouh). The first feature from Morocco directed by a woman, A Door to the Sky is a Sufi tale retold in a metaphoric language of today. The beautifully shot film tells of a young Europeanized Moroccan’s rediscovery of her Islamic identity in her own sensitive, individualistic way—as a woman working with other women. Nadia (Zakia Tahiri) arrives from Paris in minidress and tinted hair at the family mansion in Fez to see her dying father, himself a Westernized family patriarch. After his death, having been moved by the chants at his funeral, Nadia makes the empty family mansion a home again, her way—filling it with holy women, runaways, and battered wives. In this manner she moves toward enlightenment and gentleness.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Ben Lyazid. Photographed by Georges Barsky. With Zakia Tahiri, Chaïbia Adraoul, Eva Saint Paul, Anemed Bouanani. (107 mins, In Arabic with English subtitles, Color, 35mm)