Like a sweet, golden, flaky pastry served with a bitter coffee, Maryam Touzani’s Adam is full of warmth, sorrow and satisfaction.
Samia (Nissrine Erradi) is heavily pregnant and has no work or home. Her poverty and pregnancy signal to the conservative Casablanca community around her that she is beneath contempt and she struggles to find work. Abla (Lubna Azabal) runs a small bakery and with her conscience pricked by her effervescent daughter Warda (Douae Belkhaouda), she takes Samia in, “just for a few days.”
Abla has made sure she is self-sufficient since the unexpected death of her husband. She is not so unlike Samia, who is determined to forge her own path without help and both women can’t help but be affected by their growing friendship.
The film was inspired by Touzani’s parents sheltering a pregnant woman in Tangier at a time when being unmarried and pregnant was illegal in Morocco. What could have become sentimental or trite retains a bitterness with Abla’s relentlessly acerbic world-view and the very real and difficult choices Samia must make.
The beats are familiar and some scenes feel a little slow but they sustain the mood and help to pull us into a story that is more than it seems. A later scene with Samia and her baby is an example of this; just when you think it is dragging on, you realise what it is you are witnessing. It’s hard not to be moved by this or ignore the significance of Samia’s plight. And it makes you want to eat pastry.
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