30.12.08

Zouina

Pull back the curtain, dear Zouina, and smile at a stranger. Silence, Zouina, stand back and laugh at teenagers' problems on the radio. Listen to french women talk about the things you don't talk about, about love and sexuality. But Zouina, simple Zouina, on sunday go look for that familiarity of Algeria so that Inch'Allah, on that day, you'll find your peace again.

When you're torn apart from your mother like that, I can feel your heart being torn away. Your home, your Algeria, has been left behind, and your husband and La France wait in anticipation. Your husband, he kisses your mother and hugs your children, but for you Zouina, he has only a perfunctory nod as he takes your luggage to put it in a van.

What is this strange new place you have been brought to? Who are these people? Your neighbours peek at you through a curtain and call your Indian. Their garden is full of flowers and dolls. They live alone, without husbands. They even take their coffee plain without any sugar - even when your mother-in-law gives your visitor sugar from the box.

The couple next door, they are old and lonely. They spend their time pruning their garden and pretending to win their competitions. Look, she practices her speech in front of her mirror, as her husband smiles at her secretly. She is harsh, this lady who killed your children's ball, why does she torment them so? You hit her, yes, and tore her clothes, but watch her husband as he politely coaxes her into shaking hands with you. Your husband, he pushes you and jabs you in your back while he commands you to shake hands.

The colonel's wife, she's a wonderful friend. Sunday after Sunday, she comes to help you search for your companions. That day at the cemetery, when your child had an accident, you tried to tell her that he was okay. Her tears were for the dog she lost, Simca, who you buried in your backyard in the dead of the night. When she found you again, she helped you find Malika, the Algerian on 12, Alouette street. Malika betrayed you, and threw you out, but didn't you find a friend in the stranger on the bus who you smiled at like Eleanor Rigby with her face in a jar by the door? 

Your loneliness, dear Zouina, and your tears you lost on the day Algeria asked you to leave. But on this day, when the Algerian betrayed you, your husband saw you smile for the first time.

**

This is a movie review that I submitted for a competition. The name of the movie is Inch'Allah Dimanche. It is a french film about an algerian lady who migrates to France with her mother in law and children to stay with her husband. This was a move that tore her away from her home and left her in a strange new country with no company, a mother-in-law who wasn't nice to her, a husband who was on the surface indifferent to her, and children who she cared for. It is about her search for a companion, the way she deals with the new place, cultural differences, women's issues, migration, patriarchal structures.. It is a film that has to be watched.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sitamma..... it was really good ya. You totally deserved it ya..... :)