I am a woMAN


Saad ALAMI

   

   It is a great feeling when you are one among few privileged persons to watch one of the first projections of a movie in a whole country. That’s my story with ANDROMAN, a Moroccan movie directed by AZ LARABE ALAOUI LAMHARZI, and today I would like to share it with you.

  On March the 1st, the city of Oujda gave birth to the first Moroccan Short Films Festival, an open space of competing for all national short movies’ directors, and an opportunity to discover new talented directors.

  ANDROMAN the movie was projected in the opening ceremony. It was a gift from its director to all of us, people of Oujda. This film is among recently produced movies in Morocco, which deals with different humanistic issues affecting the social landscape. It won four awards at the National Film Festival in Tangier organized at the end of last year. I believe that this success was due to the objective treatment of reality, and to the great performance of all the actors, bearing in mind that one of the movie awards is the best feminine role. So, that’s why I would like to focus on women issue treated in this movie.

  The story takes place in Boulmane in the regions of Ouerzazat, and it tells the story of a very poor village, where the people make their living from the trees of the woods surrounding it. Androman is the Amazigh name of the tree, the source of the living of people, by making coal from it. This vital treasure makes the subject of great conflicts between villagers aiming to the illegal exploitation of Androman, and the forest’s guardian representing the authorities.

   The setting, the costumes, the behaviors, the laws, and everything in this village was meant to represent to what extend this village lived under ignorance and backwardness. A place isolated from the rest of the world, living according to very ancient rules. Therefore, everything was made in a way to make you feel that this context is similar to the Pre-Islamic era. For instance, people still eat pork, and deprive women from ALL their rights.

  For sure, Androman the movie had really given a great focus on women’s hard living circumstances in rural areas, especially those deprived of the right of inheritance. The land, source of the life in this area becomes the richest of those who have control of it, and women thus, are the most powerless of the chain. So, and because of such a situation, a man with only daughters is persecuted.

   That is when you have the chance to meet Androman, the girl, who seems for a glance to lose everything. Not only her rights as a woman, but also her whole femininity. Being under the patriarchy of her father Ouchen, she’s prohibited to manifest any of her feminine characteristics. Her father shaves all of her hair making her bold, interdicts her to put make up, and does everything to hide all of her biological parts. Besides, and under painful torture she’s forced to say “I am a Man”. This represents how “disgraceful” is to have a daughter in that village, and how the life of a woman could be transformed into a permanent hell, unless she gives birth to a boy.

   Everything in this village was constructed in a way which strengthens patriarchal laws and behaviors, where all women were subjected to total marginalization. However, the movie’s director chose to show that the battle for the women’s right could only be done and fought by women themselves. The viewer can feel the different symbols presented, which all add further explanations and make visual expressions more touching. There is a toy showing a bird in a cage, translating women’s misery and their inability to transgress the imaginary boundaries shaped by a very misogynous context. Also, we can think of Islamic religion. Personified in the person of the Sheikh, it is a symbol of women’s freedom. The village’s Sheikh was the only person who called for women’s right to inherit from the lands, but his claims were never appreciated and his point of view never supported. We can also think of the horse as a symbol of strength and freedom. At the end of the movie, Androman rides the horse in a battle which she wins against a man, and against the society’s rules, offering a new horizon for the village’s women, and tracing the path towards a better future.

  ANDROMAN is the story of a courageous woman who transformed the impossible into achievable. It is a story which deplores the existing forms of inequality between sexes in morocco, as well as it is an attempt from its director Az Larabe Alaoui Lamharzi to demonstrate the following; if women seek emancipation, they will have to do it by themselves, being gathered to defend their rights, and particularly being proud to pronounce out loudly: “I am a WOMAN”.

Leave a Comment