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Fighting for Justice and Emotional Balance at Cannes Film Festival 2023


By Roger Costa


It is such an unmeasurable burden to see your children go and not be able to fight it. There is no console for any parent who hasn’t done any wrong, besides being busy in order to provide for their children, to deal with the separation from the most important being, under radically unjust reasons.

Actress Virginia Efira confirms her status as France’s current leading lady, giving another fierce demonstration of her appeal, dramatic skills and nuance. She plays Sylvie, a single mother in trouble with childcare services when an accident leaves her youngest son severely burned. They decide she isn’t fit to properly care for him, taking him away to a foster home while keeping an eye on her progress and how it affects the elder son, an aspiring instrumentalist.

Writer-director Delphine Deloget scores a convincingly emotional and deeply moving dysfunctional family drama addressing the complications single parents must face within their strict income, low working opportunities, and social expectations seen through the dark and cold-heart perspective of a judgmental system.


After her husband suddenly dies, a woman sees her world collapse when her brother-in-law demands the family’s rights for inheritance. Forced to fight for her home and her daughter’s custody while broken and grieving, she literally descends into hell in order to survive this tempestuous trial. Her only chance would be a male child, leading her to forge a pregnancy. That would grant her some time to figure out things and pay her late husband’s debts but that brings a lot of risks as well. Painting a dark canvas of Jordan’s society and patriarchal laws and traditions, first-time director Amjad Al-Rasheed conceives a powerful humanitarian statement claiming freedom, respect and dignity for the women in such conditions. The screenplay is extremely well articulated and thrilling, blending classic elements of suspense, moral drama and social commentary. The protagonist develops a connection to a woman who is attempting an abortion, which elevates the sense of danger in the film, while the director brilliantly comments on the parallels of religious beliefs and practices. Al-Rasheed’s film has at its highest favor the performance by Mouna Hawa as Nawal. She is the core, the heart and the conductor of this thrilling journey, the first film from Jordan to screen at Cannes, and one of the few to precisely depict misogyny and injustice against women in the Arab world. An urgent film, and extraordinary performance, that rightfully deserve Awards attention.

(The 2023 Cannes Film Festival runs thru May 27)

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