Inch’Allah Dimanche (2001)

Director: Yamina Benguigi

In this excruciating nerorealistic style drama-- almost documentary like in its approach, an Algerian woman chaperoned by her cruel, domineering mother-in-law packs up her three young children and is reunited with her ex-husband, where he's been residing in France for the past ten years during the labor crisis. The heroine, a bit overly whiny in a beginning that is frankly hard to take, is well performed by Fjeria Deliba (herself a French-Algerian female filmmaker as well). It's tough to watch the gender inequality of the Muslim faith displayed in the film as Deliba's Zouina, (who honestly does act out in ways that annoy the viewer at times), nonetheless get so brutalized by her mother-in-law and husband. The director does provide some humor in the next-door neighbor characters-- racist French people obsessed by their prize-winning garden-- but it never really amounts to anything or pays off entirely to make their inclusion feel like anything other than a simple plot diversion. Secondly, there's a French female character, considerate and sympathetic towards Zouina, who encourages our heroine to stick up for herself the way she'd done, now independent and divorced. The French woman would've added wondrous support to Benguigi's film if utilized in a grander way and we long for added scenes comparing and contrasting the women's plights. All in all, a worthwhile but painful glimpse into another culture brought to audiences on DVD by filmmovement.com.