‘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.


Arab designs add flair to the SAGs red carpet

Jennifer Lopez was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Hustlers.” (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2020

Arab designs add flair to the SAGs red carpet

DUBAI: Arab designers took over the red carpet at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Yvonne Strahovski and Sian Clifford showing off looks from the Middle East.

Singer and actress Lopez, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Hustlers,” showed off a sleek black number by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika, complete with an off-the-shoulder neckline and thigh-high slit. The column gown featured a floor-grazing train and the star accessorized the look with sparkling diamonds and a chic up-do with fronds of hair framing her face.

Meanwhile, Australian actress Strahovski opted for an all-white look by London-based Emirati label Khyeli.

Jennifer Lopez showed off a sleek black number by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika. (AFP)

Helmed by designer Ahmed Khyeli, the fashion house dressed Strahovski in an ethereal column gown from its Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

The look featured a peek-a-boo cutout on the bodice, along with elegant off-the-shoulder sleeves that ended just above the elbows.

British stage and TV actress Clifford chose to show off a dramatic burgundy velvet pantsuit, complete with a plunging neckline and gold detailing on the jet black lapels. The glamorous evening look came courtesy of Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad.

Yvonne Strahovski opted for an all-white look by London-based Emirati label Khyeli. (AFP)

The leading ladies were all in attendance when South Korean film “Parasite” shocked the Screen Actors Guild Awards by landing the night’s top prize, a historic win which thrusts the black comedy into Oscars contention.

The critical smash hit film overcame the language barrier to win outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, the SAG equivalent of a best film Academy Award, AFP reported.

“I’m a little embarrassed feeling like we’re the parasites of Hollywood now,” joked actor Lee Sun-Kyun.

Director Bong Joon-Ho admitted that “it is true that the momentum is building” for the Oscars.

Sian Clifford chose to show off a dramatic burgundy velvet pantsuit. (AFP)

The film, which merges comedy, drama and horror genres, follows a poor family as it infiltrates a wealthier household, and tackles the widening class gulf.

“Although the title is ‘Parasite,’ I think the film is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” said star Song Kang-ho, collecting the award.

The much-hyped movie had missed out on main prizes at the Golden Globes and Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards.

But Sunday’s win underlines the breakout movie’s extraordinary popularity in Hollywood.

It beat “Bombshell,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.