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Maryam Touzani's 'Adam' looks at the lives of two isolated Moroccan women in a patriarchal society

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Maryam Touzani's 'Adam' looks at the lives of two isolated Moroccan women in a patriarchal society
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It's a film of great beauty and intensity.

Adam, directed by the Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Touzani, tells the story of two women, a young pregnant girl on the run, and a widow who is raising her daughter alone.

Euronew's Frédéric Ponsard spoke to Touzani about her first feature film.

"I wanted my camera to be so close to the characters, that we forget that this camera exists, that we can really penetrate their souls, penetrate their beings... really be them for an hour and a half to understand them. Penetrate their intimacy, without being in something voyeuristic, break down all the barriers between us, the audience, and these two women," says Touzani.

The film was presented in Cannes in the official selection and has since toured the festivals.

Maryam Touzani is an emancipated artist who does not hesitate to kick in the anthill, in this case, a Moroccan and Muslim society where the rules are strict and prohibitions numerous for women: the recent one-year prison sentence of a young woman who had an abortion is one of the most striking examples.

She co-wrote "Much Loved," a film about prostitutes in Marrakech with her husband Nabil Ayouch, one of the most important contemporary Moroccan directors, and also starred in the film Razzia (2017) where she plays a woman who does not accept male social domination.

"Much Loved" caused a huge scandal when it was released in 2015 by addressing the taboo subject of prostitution in Morocco.

This film was inspired by an eponymous documentary that she had shot before and in which several Moroccan women testify about their condition.

In Adam, the filmmaker chose to paint the portrait of two women, two warriors, whom chance will unite.

"What I wanted to tell above all is these two women, and how they end up taming each other, how they end up really looking each other in the eye, understanding each other, putting each other face to face with their own truths, with their wounds, with their pains, with their joys that they sometimes can't see, so face to face with real-life in reality, because they are two women on the run, for different reasons, but who find themselves on the run, and who are going to be able to face life together," says Touzani.

Despite the subject, the film was released in Morocco, and was well-received, giving rise to many debates within a society that is still very phallocentric.

"This is a girl who flees her village to hide her pregnancy, this is a girl who could have had an abortion if she had had the choice, but she didn't have the choice because abortion is still illegal in Morocco today. What I feel above all is a desire to move things forward, and I also feel that Moroccan women are actually fed up with it. We've reached a moment where we really want to take our destiny in hand, and we want to shout it out loud and clear, and that's a beautiful thing to live for," says Touzani.

Adam will be released soon in most European countries. It will represent Morocco at the Oscars, a sign of the schizophrenia of a society that is bent on its secular laws but who also knows how to send signs of openness and modernity to the world.

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