Film Review: ‘Sofia’ — a damsel in distress and a selfish solution

A still from the film "Sofia."(Supplied)
Updated 31 December 2018
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Film Review: ‘Sofia’ — a damsel in distress and a selfish solution

CHENNAI: Moroccan writer-director Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloisi’s “Sofia” tells us in just 80 minutes the sorrowful story of a young woman who gives birth to a child out of wedlock and then, pushed to the edge, manipulates the crisis to her advantage.

“Sofia” follows protagonist Sofia (played by Maha Alemi) as she discovers she is pregnant. She is unmarried, and a child out of wedlock is a crime.

The film, which premiered at Cannes 2018 and is part of the Arab Cinema Competition, starts at a dinner table where Faouzi (Faouzi Bensaidi) and his family are entertaining rich businessman Ahmed (Mohammed Bousbaa) in the hope of clinching a lucrative deal with him.

But when Faouzi’s daughter Sofia falls ill with severe stomach cramps, her doctor cousin Lena (Sarah Perles) examines her in the kitchen and finds out she is pregnant.

At that very moment, Sofia’s water breaks. Lena whisks her to a clinic and takes the help of a doctor friend to get around the law.

The movie is focused, staying all along with Sofia, following her when she hatches a selfish plan to get out of her sticky situation by forcing an innocent man to pay the price.

The film wins additional stars for the performances of the two lead actresses. Although Alemi has to look glum for the most part, she shines at the end, opening up a hidden facet of her character.

Perles is marvelous as a woman torn between the law and her cousin’s dilemma, and as a medical practitioner she even risks her budding career.

At the end, when the chilling truth comes out, she is shocked and distressed, but never gives up on her cousin.


Screen Scene: What to watch at home this week

What to watch on Netflix this week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 15 January 2019
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Screen Scene: What to watch at home this week

DUBAI: If you plan on staying in this week, here is what to watch.
The Last Laugh
Starring Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Andie MacDowell
Where Netflix
Retired talent manager Al Hart is reunited with his first client, Buddy Green, at a retirement community. Green is a stand-up who quit showbiz decades ago, but Hart persuades him to escape the community and hit the road for one last cross-country comedy tour.

Friends From College
Starring Keegan-Michael Key, Nat Faxon, Fred Savage
Where Netflix
Second season of the comedy series about a group of friends from Harvard. As Max’s wedding approaches, the friends have to come together and face the issues raised by season one’s revelation about an affair between two of the group.

Titans
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft
Where Netflix
A darker, live-action take on DC’s “Teen Titans” franchise. Batman’s former sidekick Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth encounter other disillusioned young heroes, including Beast Boy and Starfire, and form their own crimefighting group.

Carmen Sandiego
Starring Gina Rodriguez, Finn Wolfhard
Where Netflix, from Jan.18
Animated series based on the fictional globe-trotting master criminal regarded as a villain by international law enforcement agencies. But her actions are more like those of a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing from evil corporations and giving back to victims

IO
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie
Where: Netfix, from Jan. 18
A young scientist — one of the last survivors on earth — tries to find a way for mankind to survive without leaving their home planet. As the departure of the last shuttle approaches, her resolve is tested.