The Season of Men

"OK"

The Season of Men Review


The Season of Men is a ponderous portrait of Arab women slowly freeing themselves from tradition, each generation getting just a touch more gutsy than the one before it.

Aicha (Rabia Ben Abdallah) is the matron who starts the domino effect. After being married to Said (Ezzedine Gennoun) for some time, she decides she doesn't want to wait for the one month of the year that he returns, as is the custom of the village. Said finally relents that if she bears him a son, the family will move to the city with him. It's the dream of every woman in the village, each wife takes turns to joyfully brag about it even knowing the chances it will actually happen are slim.

She bears two healthy girls, Meriem (Ghania Benali) and Emna (Hend Sabri), and finally a son, Aziz (Adel Hergal). But after having moved to be close to Said, it becomes apparent that Aziz has health problems, and Aicha is blamed for this. Now, even more estranged from Said, Aicha decides to move back home with her daughters in tow.

But Aicha finds it difficult to keep close tabs on her growing daughters. Meriem is married but can't seem to provide her husband with sex whereas Emna sleeps with a married man and doesn't acknowledge tradition at all.

This setup could have become a gripping story of women coming into independent power, but it falls short of the mark by concentrating too much on flashbacks to drive cultural difficulties home. Again and again we see Aicha fight with her overbearing, power-hungry mother-in-law for the rights of her daughters. And when these scenes aren't taking over, there's always a cryptic "character looking in the mirror" shot right around the corner.

It is regrettable that the story doesn't focus more on interaction between Aicha and her daughters in the present. After all, Aicha has chosen to drag them away from their lives, due to Aziz's constant need for care. Instead of elaborating on how these women are becoming different from their predecessors, it repetitively concentrates on scenes of feminine claustrophobia within the community.

Still, there are beautifully poignant moments to this film. Each character is able to shine through a mixture of emotions. Watching Aicha stand up for her rights during especially emotional scenes demands respect for her decisions, even when they are fallible. Emna is allowed a strong, simple exploration of what she's learned when she tells her married lover that she never wants to marry. The overall strength of these women is articulated well through being three-dimensional instead of perfect icons.

The men are thankfully not seen as completely tyrannical, which is unusual for a film about female empowerment. For the most part they are simply following tradition, and some are open to allowing women more space.

The cultural details can also be refreshing, such as how these women prepare for their men with henna. It is interesting to see how every person in a given family has a specific task no matter their skill. Aziz is a young boy with health problems, but he is put to work weaving carpets.

The Season of Men is a unique cultural study of gradual feminine growth within a strict community. Though it has its share of misses, it is still a positive and reflexive look at a people much ignored.

Aka La saison des hommes.

The season of washing dishes.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 27th December 2000

Distributed by: Cowboy Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Aicha, as Zeineb, Ghalia Benali as Meriem, as Emna, as Said, Mouna Noureddine as Matriarch

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.