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Looking for My Wife’s Husband

Quite a different type of film from "Badis," director Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi's previous fest success, "Husband" could be compared to a Moroccan sitcom set in a middle-class, modern-day harem. Fat but lovable gold merchant Hadj (comic Bachir Skirej, a thesp who worked many years in the U.S.) has three wives , each of a different generation. The women, who are good friends, have divided up their "duties" for Hadj. Everything goes wonderfully well, until Hadj repudiates his beautiful youngest wife, Houda (Mouna Fettou), in a fit of jealous rage.

Quite a different type of film from “Badis,” director Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi’s previous fest success, “Husband” could be compared to a Moroccan sitcom set in a middle-class, modern-day harem. Fat but lovable gold merchant Hadj (comic Bachir Skirej, a thesp who worked many years in the U.S.) has three wives , each of a different generation. The women, who are good friends, have divided up their “duties” for Hadj. Everything goes wonderfully well, until Hadj repudiates his beautiful youngest wife, Houda (Mouna Fettou), in a fit of jealous rage.

She calmly moves back in with her parents, cuts her hair and updates her wardrobe. Hadj, on the other hand, is racked by suffering and discovers he can’t live without her. Islamic law allows him to remarry Houda only if she first marries another man who then repudiates her.

Aicha Regragui’s script brings out the feeling of community among the women, children and servants in the harem, emphasizing the wives’ surprising camaraderie and independence of mind. In a sense, it replays “Badis’ ” theme of women’s victimized position in society in a grotesque but affectionate comic key. Crisply lensed within the walls of a magnificent tiled house, pic is a pleasure to watch.

Looking for My Wife's Husband

(A LA RECHERCHE DU MARI DE MA FEMME) (MOROCCAN) (Arabic dialogue)

Production: A COE release (Italy) of an Arts & Techniques Audio-Visuels production. Produced, directed by Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi. Screenplay, Aicha Regragui. Camera (color), Federico Ribes; editor, Kahena Attia; art direction, Pierre Gompertz, Abdelkrim Akellach; costumes, Larbi Yacoubi. Reviewed at African Film Festival, Milan, Italy (competing), March 19, 1994. Running time: 100 MIN. Hadj Ben Moussa ... Bachir Skirej Houda ... Mouna Fettou Lalla Rabea ... Naima Lemcherki Lalla Hobbi ... Amina Rachid Tamo ... Fatima Moustaid Asatire on the intricate Islamic law code dealing with polygamy, "Looking for My Wife's Husband" has clicked in Morocco as a hit comedy. Thanks to its extreme local color (story is set in a harem), pic will be a curiosity item offshore for fests and special-interest auds.

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