Rabat – Moroccan director Meryem Benm’barek won the best narrative film prize for her feature film “Sofia” at the 41st International Women’s Film Festival in Florence, Italy. The event took place from November 20 to 24 under the theme “Mother’s Stories.”
“Sofia” follows a 20-year-old woman who has a baby out of wedlock, something that is highly frowned upon in Moroccan society and in violation of the Moroccan criminal code due to the illegality of sex outside of marriage. Sofia finds support from her cousin Lena. After Sofia gives birth, the two women have 24 hours to find the father of Sofia’s child before the hospital alerts the authorities.
The film stars Maha Alemi, known for her role in Nabil Ayouch’s “Much Loved,” and Sara Perles of Nour-Eddine Lakhmari’s “Burnout.”
According to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the film festival’s director Paola Paoli praised Benm’barek’s courageous and intelligent approach to the subject matter.
Paoli added that the film offers a critical look at the situation of women’s rights in Morocco and presents a commentary on the dynamics of women’s issues in Moroccan cinema. She also noted the film’s superior technical quality.
“Sofia” also received the screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 in addition to awards at various other international festivals.