May 4, 2006
Noura's Summer, 2005
Continuing in the muted, expositional vein of Amal on the marginalization of women, Pascal Tessaud's The Summer of Noura is an examination of the outmoded, often conflicting traditions that perpetuate a generational culture clash between old world tradition and new world modernity, an ingrained culture that continues to perceive women, not as independent people, but as properties of their families (and subsequently, their husbands), even as they lead self-sustaining lives so that they can provide financial support to the family. At the center of the story is recent high school graduate, Noura, the youngest child of a Moroccan immigrant family who leads an outwardly contemporary life of cell phones, co-ed schools, and mixed socials - her parents expressing their genuine pride in her academic accomplishment even as they clandestinely make preparations for her arranged marriage without her consent during a planned, upcoming summer vacation to their native country. Discovering his parents' ulterior motive for the homecoming trip, she attempts to contact her best friend in vain, before succumbing to profound despair. As in recent films that correlate alienation with technology through the iconic image of the cell phone (most notably, Jeong Jae-eun's Take Care of My Cat and Jia Zhangke's The World), Noura's Summer illustrates the paradox of cultural isolation in an age of progressive societies and globalization.