MADRID — Berlin-based Films Boutique has acquired international sales rights to Maryam Touzani’s Cannes Un Certain Regard women’s drama “Adam,” the feature debut of the Moroccan screenwriter-director who co-wrote Nabil Ayouch’s 2017 hit “Razzia,” in which she also starred.
In early distribution deals on “Adam,” Ad Vitam has acquired French distribution rights and Cinéart those to Benelux.
A women’s tale of friendship, rebirth and oppression, “Adam,” which world premieres at the Cannes Festival. It turns on the chance but life changing and enhancing encounter in Casablanca’s Medina between Samia, a heavily pregnant, single young woman down from the countryside to have her soon-to-be-born child adopted, and Abla, a widow with a vivacious eight-year-old daughter who has set up a bakery in her home to make ends meet.
Abla takes Samia in; Samia introduces Abla to some secrets of traditional Moroccan pastries, taught to her by her grandmother, such as rziza – which sells like hot cakes in the Medina.
“Adam’s” narrative backbone, however, is the inner journey of its two protagonists. After the death of her husband, Abla has retreated into herself, works round the clock, is a severe disciplinarian mother. With Samia’s encouragement, she gradually rediscovers part of the joy of living.
Samia’s inner journey is in someways the reverse, towards a sense, instilled by Abla, that, though having child born out of wedlock is a ghastly dishonor in conservative Morocco fir mother, child and family, she should not take the decision to give her child up lightly.
“The pressure a woman such as Samia has to withstand is hardly bearable; the judgment inflicted on her and on her child is terrible. It is not easy to be courageous in such a situation, because the battle is often lost in advance,” said Touzani, noting that “however, there are women that put up a fight, that manage to find the courage to defy society. I think that is admirable.”
“Women’s rights to me are definitely a major sign of advancement in a country. Things are evolving in Morocco, but too slowly on that aspect. The laws, the place of women in the public sphere… This needs to change,” said Avouch,
“‘Adam’ is above all a grand cinematographic moment, in all aspects. But it’s true that the fact that it has been directed and interpreted only by women gives a different flavor to this story. It will definitely give a voice to women in Morocco and also elsewhere, and maybe inspire others.”
Written by Touzani with the collaboration of Ayouch, “Adam” is produced by Nabil Ayouch and co-produced by Amine Benjelloun and Patrick Quinet for Ayouch’s Casablanca and Paris-based labels Ali N’ Productions and Les Films du Nouveau Monde, with Artémis Productions.
Films Boutique’s latest titles include Cannes 2018 Directors’ Fortnight standout “Birds of Passage” and Un Certain Regard Prize winner “Border,” Pole Jacek Borcuch’s “Dolce Fine Giornata,” which won Krystyna Janda best actress at Sundance, and Berlinale Audience Award winner “37 Seconds,” from Japan’s Hikari.
A major force in Cannes Festival top art film pre-buys and purchases, Ad Vitam nursed Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” to 639,732 admissions in France – about $5 million in gross box office, Christophe Honoré LGBT 2018 Palme d’Or contender “Sorry Angel,” released on 202 screens in France, to about $1 million.
A leading upscale film distributor for Benelux, Cineart’s pre-buys already take in Cannes 2019 competition entries “Sorry We Missed You,” from Ken Loach, and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “The Young Ahmed”