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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Hate Crimes > Algeria > Middle East > Daughter Of Keltoum

Daughter Of Keltoum (First Run/Global Lens)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: B



Out of Algeria comes one of the braves films about the regressive situation in The Middle East to date, made in 2001 by director Medhi Charef, he could not have know how timely he was about to be with Daughter Of Keltoum.  The film focuses on a 19-year-old woman looking for her biological mother and meeting a strange old woman who keeps following her on her journey, for better and worse.  From Switzerland, she has never been to The Middle East and learns first hand what a brutal, backwards, woman-hating set of societies her roots are connected to.


However, to find her real mother, she is willing to endure the worse and it is amazing the automatic open hatred men have for women there, so accurately portrayed here.  There are the men who think women are just for raping, then there is another loser who yells at a woman just for wearing make-up and starts beating her head into a bus window for offending him.  Mind you, she was a total stranger.  That the society hides behind religion and their “traditions” as a way to excuse this, that these men are used to doing this openly because it is explicitly sanctioned by the Muslims and jointed governments involved is an abomination and makes their concept of “infidels” very worthless.


The actual story is a bit melodramatic at times, but the misogyny at the hearty of the story, which is at the root of why the young lady is on her journey to begin with, the educational and economic oppression of these women and the blatant disposability of females from newborn status to the grave.  9/11 happened since then and I wonder how much harder this film would have been to make so soon afterwards.  Daughter Of Keltoum is a gem indeed.


The 2.35 X 1 image is soft, detail challenged and color is mixed.  Part of the problem may simply be a PAL to NTSC transfer issue.  The film was a Dolby analog SR (Spectral Recording) release, but the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo here has no real surround activity.  Extras include two sections on other Global Lens pieces, a DVD-ROM PDF discussion guide, text director’s statement, and stills.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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