El Batalett – Femmes de la Medina

Dalila Ennadre. 2002. Morocco, France. vo Arabic. 60’


We follow the director's camera into the kitchens and living rooms of a community of Moroccan women. inside the walls of their apartment in Casablanca's old Medina, the women cook, clean, take care of their families and help each other. With their hands in the dough, in the soap whilst washing the laundry, doing the house chores, in the market or at the hammam, between laughter and tears ("We are housewives, that's all. ... Our sport? House cleaning!"). These courageous women, proud of their role, talk about their miserable lives with a great sense of awareness, but without self-pity. They show a surprising vitality, curiosity for life and solidarity. These house-proud housewives may not all know how to read, but they know exactly what would improve their lives: equal rights for women and men, more money, and a better future for their children so they wouldn't have to emigrate to support the family. A sense of hope and the possibility of change radiate out of the everyday lives of these heroines ("batalett").