Rabat – Cannes Film Festival has picked Meryem Benm’Barek first feature film “Sofia” to feature in the lineup “Un certain regard,” announced Thierry Frémaux, general delegate of the festival, on Wednesday, April 12.
“Sofia” is the first Moroccan film to be chosen by the famous festival since Nabil Ayouch’s “Much Loved” in 2015.
“Sofia” is the first feature film by Franco-Moroccan filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek, whose short film “Jennah” (her thesis project at INSAS in Brussels) won the 2014 Grand Prize at the Rhode Island Festival.
The cast includes Sara Elmhamdi Elalaoui (“Much Loved”), Sarah Perles (“Burnout” by Nour-Eddine Lakmari), Hamza Khafif, the Belgian Lubna Azabal (“Exiles,” “Paradise Now”), Faouzi Bensaidi (“The Blissful”), Nadia Niazi, and Saïd Bey.
Written by Benm’Barek, the script tells the story of a single mother who is desperately searching for the father of her unborn child to avoid being reported to the authorities by the hospital.
In an interview with Cineuropa, the director explained that the idea of ??Sofia came to her “because she missed something in the representation of women in the Arab world.”
“Very often in films, Arab heroines are under the influence of male domination, presented as a victim of patriarchy, this interpretation, although fair at certain levels, seems to me insufficient, but I think we should take into account the social and economic context,” she said.
The 71st edition of the Cannes film festival will take place from May 8-19, featuring big names and its reputed global outlook. According to the international press, this year’s lineup has a notable absence of female directors.