Mauvaise foi

Mauvaise foi

Roschdy Zem :: France :: 2006 :: 1h28

Clara and Ismaël have been together for four years. Neither of them are particularly religious, but none the less she is Jewish and he is a Muslim. When she becomes pregnant and they move in together, they get around to meeting each other’s parents and are confronted with issues of interfaith relationships.

The debut movie of Roschdy Zem was no doubt inspired by his will to contribute to the normalization of the relations between people of different religions. Unfortunately, the issues of an interfaith relationship are badly worked out. To take for granted that a couple who has been together for four years has managed to neglect such issues and never met each other’s family, is quite a lot to accept, but let us grant them that to proceed.

The characters take religion as cultural baggage (rather than a spiritual guidance). Such a view on religion, although not particularly pious, would put all the weight on their respective families as the bearers of this culture. This is confirmed by the importance the characters accord to their respective families and their opinions. Of course, if they are so involved with their families, why did they not introduce or at least talk about their loves lives to them? Or if they saw trouble looming behind the door, they could have tackled the subject amongst themselves? Unless they were not as involved with each other as we are supposed to believe. This uncomfortable paradox haunts the movie for start to finish.

If the movie is to be taken seriously, as a drama, it lacks painfully in coherence. The portrayed couple is supposed to be happy in love were it not for their different religions, but actually they have a lot more to worry about than just religious matters and should have been dealt with accordingly. Alternatively, the director could have set the whole movie up as a comedy, mocking the prejudice to reach his aim, but that is not the route he took.

In the movie, as it is, we have to watch the couple almost killing their unborn child in an abortion clinic because they can not work out their relationship. Rather perverse for a supposedly religious couple. The script should have been considerably re-worked before going into the production stage, to allow the characters to come to life, to give their relationship more content and to reach the aims the director must have set for himself. As it stands, the movie is painfully naïve, dull and unilluminating.


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