‘Adam’: A story of compassion and companionship

‘Adam’ is a poignant film about companionship. (Supplied)
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Updated 09 January 2020

‘Adam’: A story of compassion and companionship

  • Adam takes place in one of Casablanca’s poorer neighborhoods, and a heavily pregnant Samia (Erradi) is unwed

CHENNAI: Maryam Touzani’s Cannes title, “Adam,” is a lovely story of compassion and companionship between two women, and it was also Morocco’s submission for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, but narrowly missed out on being shortlisted. This is the first occasion in the history of the country that a work by a woman has been chosen for the Oscars, and Touzani in her debut feature deftly explores the hurt, humiliation and dilemma faced by a woman who has a child outside of wedlock.

The subject is not terribly original. In the 2018 Moroccan Cannes entry, Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloisi’s “Sofia,” a young, unmarried woman gives birth to a baby but, pushed to the edge, she manipulates the crisis to her advantage. 

However, the distressed woman in “Adam” is very different, and she finds help and understanding in another woman, a total stranger. In a sweetly poignant narrative, the performances by the two topline actresses, Lubna Azabal and Nisrin Erradi, are arrestingly subtle. 




The film is impressively mounted and cinematographer Virginie Surdej artfully uses light to illuminate this low-key drama. (Supplied)

Adam takes place in one of Casablanca’s poorer neighborhoods, and a heavily pregnant Samia (Erradi) is unwed. She goes knocking on doors asking, even begging, for work and a bed. But nobody is willing to help a woman who may be in terrible agony, but is not on the right side of societal expectations. Luck smiles when Samia stands at the door of Abla (a surly Azabal), a single mother who is still getting over the trauma of her husband’s death. Abla will have nothing to do with Samia. But when she spends the night on the street, Abla is overcome with guilt and lets the pregnant woman in. 

Impressively written by Touzani and Nabil Ayouch, the movie offers the two woman enough time to understand each other and get close. The tension soon melts and the climax is executed in such a way that audiences may discard any prejudices. 

The film is impressively mounted and cinematographer Virginie Surdej artfully uses light to illuminate this low-key drama. Pilar Peredo’s sets in Casablanca’s Old Medina are simply elegant, and music by artists such as Warda Al-Jazairia enriches the narrative.


A hairy situation: Facial hair proves a hot topic as coronavirus worries grow

According to the CDC, beards can interfere with the correct usage of masks and respirators. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 31 March 2020

A hairy situation: Facial hair proves a hot topic as coronavirus worries grow

  • We take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice on mustaches, mutton chops and suave soul patches

DUBAI: With conflicting news reports from media outlets around the world stating that men should — or don’t need to — shave off their prized facial hair in order to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus, we take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice on mustaches, mutton chops and suave soul patches.

Earlier this month, the Welsh Ambulance service advised that medical personnel should “reach for the razor (as) facial hair can disrupt the effectiveness of personal protective equipment” in a tweet and the head of France's ER doctors association advised medical staff to shave off their beards for hygiene reasons. However, these measures are mainly aimed at medical staff who rely on masks and respirators, while advice for the general public has not yet touched upon facial hair as a potential danger in the spread of coronavirus.

What’s clear, however, is the fact that beards can interfere with the correct usage of masks and respirators.

Masks and respirators are being utilized all around the world in a bid to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. But according to a recently resurfaced 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) infographic, one’s facial hair can interfere with how effective these filtering items are.

The infographic shows 36 different facial hair styles and provides names for each of them — some of which could be unknown to even the savviest barbers. It also tells you which facial hair styles would and would not work well with a “filtering facepiece respirator” like the P2/N95 respirator, that may protect you against small airborne microbes if worn properly.

While handlebars, lampshades and soul patches are deemed good to go, other facial hair styles, such as mutton chops and a full beard are advised against.

According to the infographic, facial hair can pose a risk to the effectiveness of masks because it may interfere with respirators that rely on a tight facepiece seal to achieve maximum protection.

In short, making sure there’s a good seal between the mask and the wearer’s face is a vital part of respiratory protection, however facial hair can compromise that seal.

The CDC recommends that any facial hair that can fit entirely under a close-fitting respirator should be fine. Where it looks like you might have some problems is if your facial hair is long enough or covers enough of your face that it pushes against the seal of the respirator, thereby allowing airborne particles to leak through.

However, it’s important to note that the CDC only recommends facial masks and facepiece respirators for those who work in the healthcare industry and those who are coming into contact with people who could be potentially infected with the disease, as well as individuals with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.