The Wedding Song (2008)

Lizzie Brocheré, Olympe Borval, Najib Oudghiri, Simon Abkarian,
The Nazi occupation of Tunisia strains the bonds of friendship between a Muslim woman and a Sephardic Jewish woman who are both preparing for their marriages.
  • 6.6 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Karin Albou, Director:
  • Laurent Lavolé, Isabelle Pragier, Producer:


7 / 10

The Wedding Song

I saw this last month at the 2009 Palm Springs International film Festival. This is the second feature film of writer/director/actress Karin Albou who received critical acclaim for her debut film La Petite Jersalem. As as writer and director Albou seems to have a promising career ahead of her as she knows how to put a film together and get the best out of her cast including herself as an actress as she plays the role of Myriam's stern but loving, smart and hard working mother Tita. The film is set in 1942 in German occupied Tunisia as the German's are vying for the support of the Muslim population to be their allies in the promise of independence for Tunisia. 16 year old Nour (Olympe Borval) is a Muslim engaged to her cousin Khaled (Najib Oudghiri). Nour's best friend since their earliest childhood is Myriam (Lizzie Brouchere). Myriam is Jewish and the German occupation has brought understandably hard times and tension for the Jewish Tunisian population. Myriam longs for the love that her friend Nour sees in Khaled but Myriam is betrothed to a wealthy and much older Doctor Raoul (Simon Abkarian) who is being forced to work in sympathy to the Nazi occupation. Photographed by cinematographer Laurent Brunet this is a good film but despite the war setting there is not a lot of war action and the film centers around the relationship of Myriam and Nour and this could be categorized as a chick flick. I liked it though and would give it a 7.5 out of 10 and recommend it.

9 / 10

Friendship In The Face Of Adversity

The year is 1942. The Nazi's have taken North Africa (Tunesia,in this case),and are spreading their vile wave of anti Semetic propaganda to the Arab speaking citizens of Tunis (and are Hell bent on carrying out their agenda of ethnic cleansing,as well). Amid all of these vile goings on,are two lifelong friends,Myriam,a Sephadic Jew,and Noor,an Arab,both young girls,about 16 years old,and are preparing for an arranged marriage. Myriam (played by Lizzie Brochere),is engaged to marry a much older man,a doctor transplanted from France,Raoul (Simon Abkarian),whom Myriam doesn't like one tiny bit (and no surprise,what so ever,as Raoul just drips with contempt that we all find out as the story unfolds),while Noor (played by Olympe Borval)who,although is arranged to marry Khaled (an Islamic extremist in the making,making him not much better than Raoul,played by Najib Oudghiri),her marriage has been called off by her stern father,due to Khaled's lack of work (although he is courting the prospects of going to work for the Germans,who claim to be a friend & ally of the Arabs. With the prospects of Nazi anti Semitism looming,the once peaceful relationships between Jews & Arabs threatens to disintegrate Myriam & Noor's long lasting friendship. Karin Albou,who directed the superb 'La Petite Jerusalem',writes & directs (as well as acts out the role of Noor's Mother,Tita) this sad on the surface, but uplifting drama that is also a meditation on cultural & religious differences (we get a taste of both Jewish & Arab culture). The cinematography is a treat for the eye,balancing muted colours with some Earth tones. The musical score is an eclectic mix of some traditional Arab & Jewish folk musics,with some unexpected bursts of modern music (the use of a piece of music by Nina Hagen is a nice counterpoint to all of the Nazi mayhem that transpires at times). This is a toothsome piece of drama that some will dismiss as little more than an "art house" chick flick,but don't let the "nay sayers" discourage you from seeing it. Spoken in Arabic & French (with a wee bit of German)with English subtitles. Not rated by the MPAA,this film contains full frontal female nudity,sexual content,a most distressing preparation scene for a traditional Jewish bride that is just as difficult to watch as some of the goings on in Lars Von Trier's 'Anti Christ' & some rude language (leave the little ones home)

7 / 10

Engaging but Uncompelling

During WWII, the lifelong friendship between two young women (one Muslim, one Jewish) in Tunisia is tested when the Nazis take over the country. This is a good-looking film with fine performances from Brochere and Boval as the two women, although the characters are not very well developed. While generally engaging, it fails to be compelling, particularly for those not invested in the cultures portrayed here. It also doesn't offer any new insights about the religious themes it explores. It is sensitively directed by Albou, who also plays the mother of one of the young women. There are some surprisingly frank scenes depicting the grooming of Brochere for her wedding night.

10 / 10

During World War II,Tunisia is occupied by the Germans and the Allied forces are bombarding with French soldiers hanging out.. Two girls try to survive...

Outstanding movie! Historical accurate - outstanding acting performances! Lizzie Brocheré succeeded in a convincing way, her efforts must have been tremendously exhausting but they bluntly payed off, the actress merits plenty of awards. Olympe Borval performs as the best actresses do. Simon Abkarian impersonates his character with a dept seldom seen on the screen. The script is well written, and one has the impression that it is well researched up to an academic level. Even if one does not like war movies he or she will be more then surprised about the films touch for human experiences and underlying anthropological - sociological study.

7 / 10

I couldn't completely suspend my disbelief but...

Much is heard about the ability of Jews and Muslims to live together in relative peace and harmony in medieval Spain and later in French North Africa, and it's hard to know to what extent this was really true. Angel Vasquez in his novel, "La vida perra de Juanita Narboni", set in Tangier, certainly made it such peaceful co-existence seem both possible and real. And certainly the ambiance of North Africa is present in "The Wedding Song", which combines some of the sexual tension present in "Wedding in Galilee" with the wartime tension of "Battle of Algiers."

The German have occupied North Africa, and neither Muslim nor Jew really have any reason to love the French, who treated their colonial subjects like dirt. Given a choice between supporting the French or the Germans, I couldn't fault the North Africans in the movie for feeling sympathy for Germany or for working for Germans. In fact, this very French sort of moral conundrum works well in a film that is full of moral conundrums.

Concerning the sexuality and...gasp...full frontal nudity...found in "The Wedding Song", this movie is probably not for a pre-teen since the movie is really about the status of a foreign culture, and, thus, is going to be over the heads of most pre-teens. That would seem to make the film an "R" rather than a "PG-13" (though I wouldn't be surprised if our censors gave it an "NC-17" because in a lots of ways, we in the "liberal" west aren't much more enlightened on sex and nudity than the ayatollahs in Iran). I certainly wouldn't have any problem though with my teenage son or daughter seeing this movie if he or she were interested in the culture or the topic (they're not going to see it at the cineplex, so we're talking about whether I would rent it and then let them watch it). But don't worry, worried parents, to most American teens this movie is of no interest and I doubt your kids will want to watch it at home with you). Yes, the sexuality *is* occasionally erotic, but more often than not, it's realistic and not very sexy by Hollywood standards. There is nothing pornographic about the sexuality whatsoever...unless you're one of those people who finds the human body to be an abdomination and all nudity unholy.

Finally, is "The Wedding Song" a chic flick? I would say definitely NO. But are more women than men likely to take an interest in the topic of women's rights in a Muslim country? Sadly the answer is probably yes. In the end I just couldn't really buy into the relationship between the two young protagonists. Still, interesting, well-crafted films from North Africa/the Middle East don't ever make it to the cineplex, and there is plenty of suspense and action in "The Wedding Song", so I think thoughtful, thinking people will find this film worth a watch. By the way, I would give both "Wedding in Galilee" and "Battle of Algiers" a 10/10.