"A topnotch central perf by the attractive and convincing Fejria Deliba combines with well-observed details that bring the tricky assimilation of a generation of immigrants to life."
"Exceptionally good! For those looking for a film with a lot of depth, you've come to the right place."
"[A] vibrant feature debut!"
– Village Voice,
Zouina is a woman who is torn from her home in Algeria. With her 3 children and her mother-in-law, she rejoins her husband in a foreign, unaccommodating land. She finds herself feeling imprisoned between a distant husband, a hostile mother-in-law and a neighbor who is afraid of Zouina's otherness. But Zouina finally feels a sense of acceptance when she meets a cosmetics factory worker who sparks in Zouina an interest in French culture. This curiosity, and her longing for freedom, drives Zouina to take secret excursions with her children on Sundays, the one day that her husband and mother-in-law are out of the house. Through these little adventures, she comes to terms with the difficulties of change & adaptation to a new culture.
Director and Cast
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Format: DVD (NTSC)
Encoding: Region 1
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, Letterboxed
Screen Format: 16x9 Widescreen (Anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
January 4, 2002
By Lisa Nesselson
An Algerian wife joins her laborer husband in France during the '70s, but finds both him and the country to be strangers, in "Inch' Allah Sunday." This largely autobiographical first fiction outing by documaker Yamina Benguigui (1994's "Women of Islam," 1997's "Memoires d'immigres") communicates -- not always subtly -- the clash of customs and traditions between two very different cultures at a time of nascent feminism. A topnotch central perf by the attractive and convincing Fejria Deliba combines with well-observed details that bring the tricky assimilation of a generation of immigrants to life. Pic, which has already done well at fests (and is Algeria's official submission for the foreign-language film Oscar, due to the nationality of the director), opened in France in early December to mostly positive notices.
Because her husband of 10 years, Ahmed (Zinedine Soualem), has been working in a factory in chilly northern France and returns home to Algiers only for brief visits, Zouina (Deliba) barely knows him. Under a 1974 French ruling that permits North African laborers in France to be reunited with their families, however, Zouina sets sail with her three young children and her demanding shrew of a mother-in-law, Aicha (formidable Rabia Mokedem, giving one of the great Evil In-Law perfs in recent memory).
Ahmed is renting a modest brick house in France. On one side resides an elderly xenophobic couple. On the other side is a perky working divorcee, Mlle. Briat (Mathilde Seigner), who couldn't be more supportive. In addition, Zouina crosses paths with a well-off military widow (Marie-France Pisier) whose husband was killed during the Algerian War, the grocer who gives her credit and a young bus driver (Jalil Lespert).
Ahmed slaps Zouinaaround at the slightest perceived fault. Kept more or less under house arrest except to do shopping errands, Zouina braves Ahmed's wrath by sneaking out on Sundays with the kids. Earnest and didactic pic does a bang-up job of portraying Zouina's building frustration as -- stuck in an unfamiliar climate with a stranger of a spouse -- she is torn between obedience to old school Muslim patriarchy and her sense that women needn't be second class citizens in France.
Narrative is often bittersweet but never dreary. Nicely rendered period design jolts the viewer with reminders that provincial France in the mid-'70s was still closer to WWII than to the present and that today's relatively harmonious multicultural society was hard won indeed
--Lisa Nesselson/ Variety - Review
December 14, 2003
By Don Houston
The main character is a woman by the name of Zouina (Fejria Deliba) who is brought to France to rejoin her husband. She takes her three small children with her in hopes of a better life, consciously acknowledging that she'll be giving up what has amounted to her whole world up until that point. Her mother wails at her leaving and her mother-in-law berates her for looking back, telling her to think of the children. Upon arrival in a small French town with no organized Algerian community (in order to maintain her customs and sense of self), she is immediately looked down upon by the nosy neighbors, her mother-in-law and just about everyone else, with a few exceptions. The movie details the culture shock that ensues, in a realistic manner, not the typical comedy fashion (although there was a lot of humor, this is a darker look at cultural clashes) most people are used to seeing in a movie.
The themes here are driven by factors that are universal in nature. We all want to belong to a group we identify with and we hold our beliefs to be sacred, regardless of their roots, because they are a large part of what makes us unique. As Zouina continues through life, not knowing exactly where the boundaries of her life are at any given moment (her faith demands that she be obedient to her husband but the culture pushes her against that routinely), she learns to face up to the fact that she is completely out of her element, not even speaking enough French to allow her the freedom she seems to crave. Her mother-in-law makes it clear that Zouina is not worthy of her son and verbally attacks her at any chance to keep her down. The interplay between these two characters drives much of the film and both actresses were highly talented, making us see what they see, inside the narrow confines of the movie.
Okay, I liked the movie but will you, the reader, enjoy it as well? That'll depend on what type of movie you enjoy. If you're looking for car chases, gun battles and a shallow movie to half watch, this will not be for you. If you're looking for a thoughtful look at one person's view on immigration from the perspective of the immigrant, you'll find this a dark but interesting film to watch. There were a few moments where the director seemed to whitewash a few matters but overall, I think she was exceptionally good at explaining the major issues of the problem without resorting to a boring documentary style of story telling. For those looking for a film with a lot of depth, you've come to the right place. I'm rating it as Highly Recommended based on the content as much as the DVD itself.
The best extra was the short film, Black Rider by Pepe Danquart. The Black & White film lasted 12 minutes long and detailed a bus ride by a Black man who sits beside an elderly White racist in Germany. It was short and funny, summing up the perspective of an immigrant as effectively as any longer film could've done. The extras also included a great paper insert that detailed a bit of biography for the director, cast credits and some of the awards the release has won (the short even won an Academy Award). The DVD also had a trailer for the feature and the following month's release, Out Town, and some biographies of the cast and crew.
Immigration affects all of us in one way or another, no matter where you live or work. If this movie can spur some thoughtful discussion on the matter, it will have done us all a great service. I'm not sure if I agree with all the conclusions the director came to but I can appreciate that she walked the walk and now talks the talk to the extent that she could so readily outline many of the issues that impact us all. The technical matters were pretty solid and the extras good enough to recommend you check them out as well in this sple
--Don Houston/ DVD Talk - Review
Shonne - Customer Review
Bryan Pfleeger - Customer Review
One of the best things about the Film Movement series is that it allows one to see films from cultures very unlike our own. The French/Algerian offering Inch Allah Dimanche is one of those films that I never would have seen had I not belonged to the club. In its simplest terms the film details what it takes for an immigrant to be assimilated into a new culture. Zouina (Fejria Deliba) has just been torn from her family in Algiers in order to move to 1970's France to be with a husband that she barely knows. Living in a cramped house with her mother-in-law (Rabia Mokeddem) proves to be a challnge that at times seems more than Zouina can bear. In her new country Zouina must learn to either preserve her old way of doing things or adapt to the changing world around her. Through the help of a young factory worker (Mathilde Seigner) and a French war widow (Marie-France Pisier) Zouina starts her development as a modern French subject to the great disdain of her husband and mother-in -law. As usual Film Movement does a great job in bringing to our attention a film that was not often seen except on the festival circuit. The film does not have much in the way of special features but does include the short Schwarzfahrer which one the 1992 Academy Award which presents a unique take on prejudice..
Jeff in Seattle - Customer Review