“Les saisons de la soif”, an epic film on female villagers’ desires

Hamid Zoughi’s film depicts the story of four women in a remote village in drama full of sadness, lost hope and sexual desires amid a long and desperate wait for their men to come back from France.

TANGIER – Moroccan filmmaker Hamid Zoughi has struck a high note at the twentieth edition of the Tangier National Film Festival with his epic film “Les saisons de la soif” “Seasons of thirst” that highlights women’s affection and intimacy.

At first you would think that the movie would evolve around drought in a remote village southern Morocco in the 1960s. But as the story goes on, four women whose lives turn upside down after farmers’ migration to France to seek a better life. The four women become key players in a drama full of sadness, lost hope and sexual desires amid a long and desperate wait for their men to come back.

It is a wedding night as villagers celebrate the marriage of a young couple.

A furious neighbour spots his wife dancing and violently drags her to their house.  He insults her for not being able to give birth to a child who could have been as old as the bride.

As days go by, farmers lying down on the ground on a scorching day get a message from the mqeddem (a local official) that a French official will come to take the fittest men to France for labour in in agriculture and mining.

The village has been deserted from men after almost all the farmers have been selected to emigrate to France apart from a wheelchair bound old man and a 16-year-old boy.

The hopelessly desperate wait for their men to come back from France takes its toll on the four women whose sexual urges have become blatantly noticeable.

Treason, jealousy, scandal, madness and disobedience characterise the rest of the movie.

The film’s excellent scenario written by Brahim Hani and the choice of picking some on the best female actresses such as Fatima Harrandi (known as Raouia) and Zhor Slimani in Moroccan cinema gave a thrilling drama movie that raised awareness to an era of farmers’ migration to Europe leaving their wives and children behind them and women’s emotions that can be fatal.

The director succeeded in evoking women’s nature and their need for affection and intimacy in in a countryside culture dominated by men’s hegemony.

Each story of the four women made the movie desirable to watch as everyone excelled their role, mixing drama with a bit of humour.

Saad Guerraoui is Deputy Editor-In-Chief of Middle East Online