Satin Rouge (2002)
Movie InfoAn attractive widow just edging into middle age begins to explore a new side of her personality once she's on her own in this drama from Tunisia. After the death of her husband, Lilia (Hiam Abbass) finds herself at a loss for what to do with her life. Her teenage daughter, Salma (Hend El Fahem), is just old enough to be developing a life of her own, and is too busy with school and her friends to spend much time with her mother. Lilia fills the days by watching television and obsessively cleaning her home, but she feels lonely and out of sorts. Lilia begins to suspect that Salma is dating an older man, and one evening, after Salma's dancing class, she spies her leaving with a musician named Chokri (Maher Kamoun). Lilia discovers that Chokri performs at a nightclub featuring a troupe of belly dancers, and she goes to the club one night to confront him. Lilia is initially embarrassed by the boisterous atmosphere of the cabaret and the scanty dress of the dancers, but she soon finds herself drawn into the devil-may-care attitude of the patrons and performers. Lilia also finds herself becoming fascinated with belly dancing, and begins learning how to perform the sensuous dances herself; in time, she becomes a performer at the club and finds herself drawn into a relationship with Chokri. Satin Rouge was the first feature from writer and director Raja Amari. … More
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Critic Reviews for Satin Rouge
Though far from perfect -- the film is predictable -- Satin Rouge is a refreshing view of a foreign culture.
It's a weepy, nail-biting story line that's all too familiar, although Abbass portrays her character with strong conviction and carries the film gracefully.
Part of the charm of Satin Rouge is that it avoids the obvious with humour and lightness.
A fascinating examination of the joyous, turbulent self-discovery made by a proper, middle-aged woman.
A movie that has charm but shows weaknesses not uncommon for a novice director.
A daring drama that addresses how a wanton woman copes with a strict social structure that would deny her any outlet for her animalistic urges.
Bellydancing, with its ancient roots and links to fertility rituals, is a colourful and physical expression of life forces that Lilia has to rediscover.
Leading a double life in an American film only comes to no good, but not here. Matters play out realistically if not always fairly.
Though the path to self-assurance may seem a little dubious, you can't knock it too hard. After all, it worked for Lilia. And it worked for Amari.
The biggest problem with Satin Rouge is Lilia herself. She's a cipher, played by an actress who smiles and frowns but doesn't reveal an inner life.
This Cinderella story is not new, but director Raja Amari makes the scenes in the club so vibrant and lush that we feel what it's like for Lilia to be there.
Anchored by a terrific performance by Abbass, Satin Rouge shows that the idea of women's self-actualization knows few continental divides.
It's rather like a Lifetime special -- pleasant, sweet and forgettable.
It takes you somewhere you're not likely to have seen before, but beneath the exotic surface (and exotic dancing) it's surprisingly old-fashioned.
Audience Reviews for Satin Rouge
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