FATIMA / Fatima

West Coast Premiere • Drama • France, 2015

DCP • 1.85 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 79 min

Directed by: Philippe Faucon
Written by: Philippe Faucon
Based on the books by: Fatima Elayoubi
Cinematography: Laurent Fenart
Film Editing: Sophie Mandonnet
Produced by: Isabelle Faucon, Philippe Faucon (Istiqlal Films)
Cast: Soria Zeroual (Fatima), Zita Hanrot (Nesrine), Kenza-Noah Aïche (Souad), Chawki Amari (the father), Isabelle Candelier (the employer)
International Sales: Pyramide Films • pyramidefilms.com
U.S. Distributor:  Kino Lorber • kinolorber.com
U.S. Release Date: 2016

This perceptive celebration of a resilient immigrant mother of two working as a house cleaner in Lyon, cleaned up at the 2016 César Awards, taking prizes for Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Most Promising Actress for bright newcomer Zita Hanrot. Adopting a grounded, episodic approach, the film focuses on the challenges of cultural assimilation as seen through the eyes of two generations of women. Fatima is a divorcee holding down several menial jobs. She emigrated from North Africa at 20, but 20 years later, she struggles to speak enough French to communicate with her own daughters Nesrine and Souad, whose lives she is tirelessly devoted to improving. Nesrine is trying to strike a balance between cramming for her pre-med exams and dating, while the younger and more rebellious Souad is testing her limits and her mother’s patience by acting out. Facing veiled racism, suspicion, awkwardness, and shame on a daily basis, Fatima discovers that the perfect outlet for her frustrations is also the best way to tell her daughters how she really feels.

The immigrant experience is on the minds of quite a few French filmmakers of late, but for writer/director Philippe Faucon it has been a career-defining theme. Samia (2000), shed light on the conflicting expectations of first and second generation Algerian immigrants. La Désintégration (2012) looked at the disillusionment leading to Islamic radicalization amongst a group of young men in Lille. The Betrayal (2006) turned the tables, exploring the struggles of a French officer torn between his duty and the excessive repression of villagers during the Algerian War. Faucon achieves portraits of startling complexity and immediacy, in part through the use of an almost docu-style naturalism. His casting of Soria Zeroual as Fatima, a non-actor who actually works as a house cleaner, is a case in point. For the script, Faucon consulted with Aziza Boudjellal, Yasmina Nini-Faucon, and Mustapha Kharmoudi to forge a narrative out of the poems and prose from autobiographical books by Fatima Elayoubi.  


“…generous in rueful insight and emotional complexity.”
– Justin Chang, Variety

“…brings clarity and even a sense of exhilaration to the struggle of mother and daughters to succeed on their own terms.”
– Amy Taubin, BFI





Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt