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The Source

The Source

Released 18 May 2012
Director Radu Mihaileanu
Starring Leila Bekhti, Hafsia Herzi, Saleh Bakri, Biyouna
Writer(s) Alain-Michel Blanc, Radu Mihaileanu
Producer(s) Radu Mihaileanu
Origin France
Running Time 135 minutes
Genre Comedy, drama
Rating TBC

Could flow better.

It is a sad but obvious truth that some films can be lost in translation. This isn't their fault – often it is simply a matter of being aimed at a market driven by a specific country or culture. While The Source boasts a universally common message of promoting gender equality, its approach as a comedy can sometimes result in the movie feeling clunky and elongated.

Set in the backdrop of a poor North African village, The Source centres on the women who become tiresome of having to do all the work while their lazy husbands idly sit, watch and take advantage of the drought that is starving the landscape. The men believe their Islamic heritage grants them the power in the household but, sparked by the continuing miscarriages that has robbed the community of new life, young wife Leila tries to inspire her fellow women to fight for assistance in the rather mundane chore of attaining water from the only well that lies beyond the hills. Ingrained in their struggle is a yearning for respect.

Somewhat comically, the heroines decide to go on strike, unleashing a drought of their own on their other halves – sex. This does not go down too well with the majority of the traditionally single-minded men but as their movement gathers momentum, and with the help of Leila's husband Sami, the only educated male, their chances of success become a distinct possibility.

As a drama, this story has merits in discovering female empowerment in the Arab world. Overall, the acting cannot be faulted as most of the characters add a unique slant at the varying levels of feminism and, conversely, religious conventionalism. However, as a marketed comedy the tale is utterly lost on me. Humour is evidently attempted through the power of song but its overuse is frankly irritating.

Moreover, the ample and frequently pointless subplots accumulate in a manner that ensures the film is about half an hour too long. The Source is undoubtedly intriguing, especially for the subject matter in question, and there are several aspects of it that make it a worthwhile watch. Unfortunately, it just hasn't been pieced together succinctly enough.

- David Caulfield