Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bitter Orange (Al Bortouqala al morra)

Al Bortouqala al morra (L'Orange Amère) is a Moroccan movie for the television, as the ones HBO and Hallmark produce, when I can have access to this kind of media content I never hesitate on watching it, it is always a great experience to know the contents produced out of western societies; surprisingly in Morocco the Telenovelas (Mexican soapoperas) are greatly known, but there isn’t a fair exchange of contents, we are completely ignorant about what do they produce. As we know Internet opens up new opportunities of diffusion for this kind of productions so for this and other reasons I watched it on line.

After watching it, I was confused I didn’t know If I like it or not, so I started reading the commentaries of the people who has also watch it; as Dayan, the French thinker will say “The experience that consists on watching television cannot be described in simply individual terms. “To watch is to watch with”, is to enter in an interaction from a reverse angle, made up of all those watching simultaneously the same televisual image.” Well it is not TV, neither simultaneously, it also links with the intimacy television, because they not only give expression to their opinion about the movie, but how it relates to themselves. So I became even more confused, we need some theoretical studies about this.

So as I was saying I don’t know if I like it or not, most of the people did; they describe it as the best Moroccan movie ever, beautiful, marvelous, “it is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen, I loved so much the end of the story, when the movie began I was wondering if they will ever meet again; even if the circumstances were difficult. I cried, tears of joy and sadness when they see each other, the two characters who are strangers but have loved each other from the first sight” (commentary about: Al Bortouqala al morra - Orange amère on

I could say it is a beautiful drama but I could also say it is a cheap sexist plot. Why could it be beautiful? The idea of love, pure, uninterested, first sight, lifetime longing love is a feeling that move us all, the mere possibility of the existence of this kind of feeling, emotion or condition. Allowing yourself to love to the point of becoming crazy, losing the eager to live, forgetting about yourself renouncing to any kind of gratification from the life in society, renouncing to the pleasures, even to romantic love itself, giving up everything to live out of platonic love. It isn’t a simple mourning for the lost love.

Why it could be a sexist plot? Saadia our heroine lives in a repressive civilization; first of all she lives at home with her parents, she has never been to school, so she is illiterate; she is obliged to ask her friends to write her love letters. Her whole life is based on getting married; she is used to receive suitors asking for her hand in marriage. But she falls in love with the policeman, in this repressive society she does everything she can to win his affection, she just writes a letter because she is not aloud to do anything else, even it is too much. 

She waits and waits for a reply, she never gets one, and she finds out he is going to get married. As her life doesn’t have any other purpose than getting married she becomes crazy and homeless. Meanwhile our hero Amine, he is also in love with Saadia, but he never tries to find her, he decides to follow the flow and accomplish the expectations of the society and his mother; getting married. This story is unfair for both to men and women. Men are pictured as not capable of a greater love as women do, they are lazy and selfish; they couldn’t give up everything for love. Women are too sentimental and the lack of rationality that surounds them, make them  to lose everything for true love.

Well I still don’t know if I like it or not, I’m sure it depends on many things, the momentary mood, the experience with love, what do you think about love, how you were raised (family values), in what kind of society you were raised, the roles of women and men according to the society you live in, and your opinion about it…..

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