french films > Where Fig Trees Grow

Where Fig Trees Grow

Where Fig Trees Grow

cast: Marthe Villalonga, Biyouna , Fellag

year: 2004

colour: yes


director: Yasmina Yahiaoui

runtime: 81

There aren't many fig trees to be seen in Yasmina Yahiaoui's congenial ensemble piece, but the setting is Rue des Figuiers (Fig Tree Road), a North African neighborhood in Toulon, where women hold sway and where fundamentalist puritanism is given short shrift. Djamila (Monia Hichri) is a middle-aged, belly-dancing femme fatale whose long-term lover, rakish middle-aged hairdresser Marfouz (Fellag), finally gives in to the promptings of his family and imports a demure young bride from the Maghreb. This, needless to say, causes uproar among the street's other inhabitants - including a no-nonsense madame, a teenage girl on the run from her own domineering mother, and an eccentric grandmother, played by veteran Villalonga. Broad, boisterous and bracingly unpious, Yahiaoui's film is a provocatively upbeat broadcast from the female side of Islamic culture. Visually brisk, and not a little cartoonish, Where Fig Trees Grow carries more than a dash of Pedro Almodóvar's influence, camp lip-synch sequences included.


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