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New Voices in Cinema

Meryem Benm’Barek / Feature Narrative / Morocco, France, Qatar / 2018 / 80 min / DCP
In Arabic, French / Arabic, English subtitles
Interests: Drama, Social Issues, Women Issues
Rated: Mature subject matter. Not suitable for minors. Individuals under the age of 18 are not admitted into cinemas.


  • Wed, Mar 13, 07:30 PM, MIA-A
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Sofia lives with her parents in Casablanca. Suffering from pregnancy denial, she finds herself breaking the law by giving birth to a baby out of wedlock. The hospital gives her 24 hours to provide them with the identification papers belonging to the father of the child before they will be forced to inform the authorities. Aided by her cousin Lena, the pair embark on a desperate attempt to locate the father and convince him to acknowledge the child. When Sofia’s parents become involved, an uneasy agreement is reached with Omar, the suspected father, and his mother, deftly illustrating the class division between the two families.

The feature debut from Morocco-born, Belgium-educated Meryem Benm’Barek is a delicate portrait of contemporary Moroccan society. Expertly cast, Sofia (Maha Alemi), and her cousin Lena (Sarah Perles) give compelling performances that perfectly embody the two faces of modern Morocco— one traditional and reticent, the other outspoken and idealistic. Winner of the best screenplay prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section last year, ‘Sofia’ is a nuanced yet powerful study of feminism and the double standards that face women in a largely patriarchal culture.

About the Director

Meryem Benm’Barek was born in 1984 in Rabat. She studied Arabic Languages and Civilisations at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris before entering the directing department at INSAS in Brussels in 2010. There, she directed five short films, notably ‘Nor’ (2013) and ‘Jennah’ (2014), which was selected for numerous international film festivals, and was considered for submission for an Academy Award in 2015. She also creates sound design art and has had regular exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She is currently finalizing her first feature-length film, ‘Sofia’.


Meryem Benm’Barek
Meryem Benm’Barek
Olivier Delbosc
Céline Perreard
Executive Producer
Christine De Jekel and Saïd Hamich
Production Company
Curiosa Films
MC Distribution
Maha Alemi - Sofia Lubna Azabal - Leila Sarah Perles - Lena Faouzi Bensaidi - Faouzi Hamza Khafif- Omar Nadia Niazi - Zineb Rawia- Zohra


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