Karin Albou’s “The Wedding Song” (Le chant des marieés) is a demandingly poetic story set in 1942 Tunis about the lives of two 16-year-old girls who are neighbors, Myriam (Lizzie Brocheré), a worldly Jew and Nour (Olympe Borval), an observant Muslim. The strength of the film lies in the community of women that surrounds them as the demands of family and of Nazi occupation of Northern Africa encroach. Going behind the walls of a woman’s Hamam (bath), Albou’s view of the female body is at a great remove from the way male directors might photograph the rituals, sensual. As dispassionate arranged weddings approach, the politics of the larger world and of smaller rooms converge. There is much that is bluntly painful. Albou’s accomplishment is weaving her brimful tapestry into a sweeping parable as well as a song of female intimacy. 100m. (Ray Pride)
“The Wedding Song” opens Friday at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.