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In my father's house by Ouazzani, Fatima Jebli

In this beautiful, poetic and deeply personal film, Moroccan filmmaker Fatima Jebli Ouazzani investigates the status accorded women in Islamic marriage customs and the continuing importance of virginity. At the age of 18 Fatima defied tradition, leaving home and escaping the likelihood of the same kind of oppressive marriage that had plagued the lives of her mother and grandmother. Fatima has not spoken with them for 16 years. Now 34, unmarried and no longer a virgin, she returns to her beautiful country of birth to confront her family with her views.

Style and motivation
Ouazzani left her father's house in Morocco to escape the constraints her culture and its traditions have put on women. Sixteen years later she returns to confront those traditions, her own family and herself. 'In my father's house' is filmed as if it were a letter of reconsiliation to her father. In it Ouazzani uncovers family secrets, confronts fundamentalist doctrine, displays rituals, and dispels prevailing myths about virginity in a fascinating and moving portrait of three generations of women and the choices they have made - or were denied - and their struggle to find a voice within the confines of their world.

Social Interest
Jebli Ouazzani's 'In my Fathers House' offers us a rare glimpse of todays shifts and changes in Moroccan and Islamic culture in this powerful, moving film. Following three generations of women: her grandmother and mother's arranged marriages, her grandmother's subsequent attempts to divorce, and Naima, a young woman who has returned home for a traditional wedding ceremony she questions whether her choice for a life of her own was worth the loss of her father, family and culture.

Historic Relevance
In February 2004, King Mohammed VI, revised the Moroccan family code, called the Mudawana. The revision has angered fundamentalists. The Mudawana, which was pushed through the Moroccan parliament, has granted women more power and has given a positive enhancement for women's rights in Morocco. Despite Morocco's more liberal approach towards domestic issues, the lifestyle and attitudes that are expressed in 'In my father's house are still very common.

Political Interest
It is said that today's true conflict is not between seemingly opposing ideologies, radical islamism and western liberalism, but within Islam itself. Is it possible as a good muslim to unite the Koran, and its many cultural interpretations and traditions, with modernity. From this perspective, Fatima Jebli Ouazzani's film is a courageous, deeply personal reflection on her own family history and her coming of age within the constraints of Islamic society. At the age of 18 Fatima defied tradition, she left home unmarried in search of freedom in Europe.

Awards & Festivals

  • Intl. Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
  • Sydney Film Festival
  • Rotterdam International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
  • San Francisco Intl. Film Festival, Golden Spire Award
  • Hot Docs, Best Intl. Documentary

    Buy the DVD

  • Director
    Ouazzani, Fatima Jebli
    Copyright Holder
    MM Filmprodukties
    Duration
    67 min.
    Year of release
    1997
    Language
    Dutch, Moroccon
    Country of production
    153

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