Cannes 2011: Radu Mihaileanu “La source des femmes” (The Source)


“The Source” is the story of women, young and old, who fetch water far from their arid mountain village, while their men sit and watch the world go by. Frustrated by this, a young bride, played by the French-Algerian actress Leila Bekhti, works on her entourage, and urges the other women to strike: No more sex until their men go to work.

Mr. Mihaileanu noted that the release of his film coincides with the massive protests of the Arab Spring. “Revolution isn’t just about the political movement on the streets,” he said, “but how things are at home — and how customs and attitudes need to be shaken up. To have real social equality, democracy has to happen in the home. This is where it starts, and this was my pleasure making the film — getting inside another world.”

Radu Mihaileanu gave a press conference for his film La Source des femmes (The Source). With him were actresses Leïla Bekhti, Hafsia Herzi, Biyouna, Sabrina Ouzani and Hiam Habbass, and actors Mohamed Majd and Saleh Bakri.

Radu Mihaileanu’s film echoes the revolutions in the Arab world:
These revolutions represent a huge step forward. We wrote the film with the same sort of intentions, and we bet on the chance that women would be the ones to bring change, not simply throughout the world but especially in the Muslim world.

Radu Mihaileanu on the way he chose to show the village in the film:
The main character in the film is the village. It was amazing, with ochre colours, that earth… it needed just a little bit of colour. We made the decision to borrow from the culture of all the Arab countries without betraying the unity of the Arab-Berber Moroccan whole. We used blues, yellows, oranges. The light was kind to all of the colours, the ochre, the walls, and skin tones as well.

Hafsia Herzi on her two roles in Apollonide and The Source:
These are both women’s films; the two films talk about a similar subject and paint a beautiful portrait of women. They both have love and sex. I played two very different characters. In Radu’s film, I’m a young, unmarried woman and I get in on the love strike. In Bertrand Bonello’s film, I play a prostitute, a far cry from a love strike!

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