Papicha: it is a powerful drama, this film presented by Mounia Meddour; the tale of resistance at the face of the encroachment of fundamentalism (against freedom, ideas, and particularly women) packs quite an emotional punch. The main character, that to contemporary Western audiences is simply a normal girl, is raised by its time and place to a hero (or, at the eyes of the antagonistic forces, a heretic beast); she is played convincingly, with alternating pluckiness, smartness, and terror by Lyna Khoudri. Her closest companions are likewise well-played by Shirine Boutella and Amira Hilda Douaouda, even if they are not as fleshed out as the protagonist. Cinematographer Léo Lefèvre’s images, tight and tightly focused as they are, add urgency and poeticism to the experience.
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