The camels hardly get off the starting block in "Daughter of Arabia," a wannabe exotic-erotic yarn set in pre-WWI Morocco. First feature by MTV commercials director Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt makes up in costuming what it lacks in vistas and atmosphere, but dire perfs and softcore inserts consign this to vidbins and latenight tube slots.

The camels hardly get off the starting block in “Daughter of Arabia,” a wannabe exotic-erotic yarn set in pre-WWI Morocco but actually shot in Texas and upstate New York. First feature by MTV commercials director Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt makes up in costuming what it lacks in genuine vistas and atmosphere, but dire perfs and softcore inserts consign this to vidbins and latenight tube slots in mature markets.

Title character is a confused young European adventuress, Nadezhda (Franco-American model Stephanie Szostak), who disguises herself as a boy, calls herself Si’ Laraby, and has wild nights in Tangiers’ Casbah with French officers. After falling for a hunky Berber, Kahlil (Ghanaian-born thesp Ato Essandoh), she identifies with his anti-colonial cause and the two flee across the desert, canoodling as they go and with him disguised as a woman. A few carefully-angled desert shots hardly compensate for the mass of interiors, while a fulsome narration (spoken by Sandra Shipley) tries to make sense of Nadezhda’s mixed-up psychology and flashbacks to her youth. Tech credits are OK, on a budget.

Daughter of Arabia

market

Production

A Pilgrims 6 Corp. presentation. (International sales: Pilgrims 6, New York.) Produced by Saskia Rifkin. Executive producer, Catherine May Levin. Directed by Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt. Screenplay, Catherine May Levin.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor), Harlan Bosmajian; editor, Sheri Bylander; music, Stephen Trask; production designer, John Nyomarkay; costume designer, Kitty Boots. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 20, 2003. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Stephanie Szostak, Ato Essandoh, Louis Cancelmi, Stephanie Schmiderer, Francis Dumaurier, Graeme Malcolm, Laverne Cox, Yusef Bulos.

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