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ADAM gets 5.5/10 A slow bake


Directed by Maryam Touzani

Starring Lubna Azabal, Nissrine Erradil, Douae Belkhaouda

5.5/10

Despite the male name in its title, Adam puts its focus on two young women and a girl. It’s a slowly drawn out story of desperation and resilience, though this good natured character study relies on standard characters and their obvious relations.

In Casablanca, Morocco, Abla (Lubna Azabal) is a stern and terse single mum, working from her home bakery and tending to her young daughter Warda (Douae Belkhaouda). She’s hesitant to play Good Samaritan to Samia (Nissrine Erradil), a heavily pregnant young destitute, who she takes pity on more through Warda than through herself.

Samia and Warda get along well, but Abla is far more tentative about how long this stranger can stay in their home, continually elongating the amount of time before she’s kicked back out.

This small tale is very straight-forward, with not much of interest or surprise in it, neither too do the characters have much intrigue. There is some emotional tension that Samia faces when her pregnancy-related depression has her pondering her limited options in her social status. This hint of how the outside world compromises her goals is where the film could’ve succeeded with an intelligent social critique, but it only teases at it rather than fully and satisfyingly elaborates on it.

What’s also only hinted at is the contrast in the motherly attitudes between the two women, with Samia acting incredibly unsure about her future prospects whereas Abla always defiantly acts for the present – but the film doesn’t end up going all the way (or even half way) with this reflection on this generational gap between struggling mothers.

Adam is a very actorly film, more focused on the strength of its acting than the characters. Azabal has a precise intensity in her performance and makes the most of this fairly one-sided character who has a limited emotional gamut. This may be a nice enough film about two incomplete families working together to support themselves, though has very little innovation even in its details – one of the only really new things to see here is the unique location that is Casablanca, Morocco.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

Adam plays at UWA Somerville from Monday, February 24 – Sunday, March 1, 8pm.