The Source (2011) - full transcript

In a remote and primitive patriarchal village between the North of Africa and the Middle East, the land has dried and the women traditionally bring water from a distant fountain to their houses while the idle husbands drink tea in the bar. The educated Leïla, who is the wife of the local teacher Sami, begins a sex strike movement among the women, supported by the elder Vieux Fusil (meaning old flintlock), to force the men to bring water to the village. They must face the strong reaction of the brutal men.


Is it a fairy tale or a true story?

A fairy tale, of course,
what is true on earth?

This does not happen at the court
of a sultan but in a small village.

Or elsewhere, where a spring
gushes and love dries up.


You've got a big bum!

O Prophet, protect her!

Courage, my daughter.

By the holy forefathers!

May God deliver you safe and sound!

God protect her!

Push! Push!

O Prophet, help her!

- That okay?
- Yes, thanks.

Not too heavy?


You alright?


There we are!

Glory to Allah!

You're blessed, it's a boy!

Go tell Hicham it's a boy.

It's a boy!

Thank you God,
praise be to Allah!


Thank you.

I'm back.


God have pity on me and
my fellow creatures

Glory to all that's beautiful!

I put my love in the balance of life

Glory to all that's beautiful!

We all jostle each other
but who sees my passion?

Glory to all that's beautiful!

The feet of my throne of joy,
my children fulfill me.

Glory to all that's beautiful!

When my shoulders sag,
my children will support me.

If you've given birth
you've nothing to fear.

The man is the pillar of the house
and I'm...

A baby's born from the womb of the day!

A baby dies in the bowels of the night.

Life... I spit on you!

A baby shouldn't die

while I'm still living!

It's your right my child,

you shouldn't die.

Water gives life.
Water takes life.

Shame silences tongues.

If you hide the tragedy...

black tears flood
the thirsty ground.

Our earth is parched...

that is the tragedy.

In joy I have given birth...

delivered of a boy.

The midwife tours the village

to spread the good news.

Here's a bouquet of flowers

Here is a mirror, see the girl

for whom you make your braids.

Leila, make us laugh.

Is this a funeral dinner?

Sorry, father-in-law.
I'm out of ideas just now.

Get off to bed!

Right away!

Come on!

You still defend her.

What do you mean?

Not tonight... I can't.

Do you still want
to have a child?

Forgive me.

Stop lying!

As if he could honor you
every night!

I've got a hot oven...

...and he knows how
to stoke it up.

My man's not a wimp

like you lot have.

You've got a brazier
between your legs.

My oven needs bread every day,
I can't do anything about it.

If it's too hot,
your bread'll get burnt!

Then I'll give it to you to eat!

So another woman's miscarried
on the water-trek up the mountain!

We don't talk about
that sort of thing in here.

Yes, we do talk about it!

It's not as though
it's the first time.

Everyone knows, nobody does anything.
Especially the men!


please leave.

You say that
because you're barren.

That's not true!

Leila's also lost a child
on the mountain.

I'm not the only one.

Yasmina, Rachida,
aren't you saying anything? Moufida?

You got "the plague" too.

And afterwards we're accused
of being sterile?

If God gives me a girl,
she won't go through that.

Shut up, you foreigner!

Men should fetch the water.
It happens in other villages.

Water's used in the home,

it's up to the woman to fetch it.

It's been like that
since the beginning of time.

It's our tradition.

You aren't the one to change it!

Men used to work in the fields,

go to war.

Today, most are in the towns,
and what do the rest do?

They sleep, drink tea,
and play cards in the cafe.

They can carry water!

My husband's weight has doubled.

Carrying water
would muscle him up.

I'll teach you how
to get muscled!

I'd sure give yours some muscle.

Sit down!

This is none of your business,

That's quite enough
from you, Fatima.

You talk too much.

Sit down.

Leila isn't a foreigner.

She married your son,
you've received her in your house,

We welcomed her
into our village.

One day a Frenchman asked me:

"What were the happiest moments
of your life?"

I replied:
"All up to the age of 14."

You know why.

I was married off at 14.

I found out about "it" on my wedding night.
Not before.

And like you all,
I didn't see him

until next morning
when he opened the shutters.

I didn't see it during the night.

He made it all dark
and just raped me.

I believed that a husband

sat on the bed besides his wife,

and held her hand...

and that it was good...

that it was good...

He was 40
and already had 2 children,

one 10, the other 11 years old.

Their mother had died
after a long illness,

6 months previously.

At 14 I became mother,

of children almost my own age.

Then, I gave birth 19 times.

Twelve dead,
of which two up there

near the spring.

Moufida, you've had 12:

5 dead babies.

You, 8 times,

3 dead babies.

Yasmina, 6 isn't it?

3 dead babies!

Our tradition is:

Half the babies we have
are dead, or die.

For a long time, I was treated
like I had the plague.

My husband wanted to reject me,

he said I was barren.

Today I have 7 children,

all in good health,

thanks to God.

So, how could I have been happy

after the age of 14?

When could I?

Leila's right.

It's true she comes from far away,
from the south.

But she blows like
the desert wind...

...while we just
hold our breath.

The men should transport
the water!

So tell me how
you're going to persuade them?

We'll go on strike... more love!

Yes, why not?

A love-strike!

Satan's seized you.
This is a sin!

I'd rather bring water
than do without my man.

If Karim didn't touch me
for 2 days,

I'd run screaming
to the top of the mountain.

When he starts throwing peanuts
at my head,

that's the storm warning.
I don't like it!

We not talking about
calming down children.

It's our only weapon
against the men:

We'll refuse sex while
there's no water in the village!

Enough talk!
Are you ready to strike?

This doesn't concern them...

...their oven hasn't
been lit for ages.

Doesn't concern me either.

I buried my husband,

and trampled all over his grave,

10 years ago.

So who are the brave ones?

You've never felt any pleasure?

Why did you get married at 14
if you didn't love him?

I'll get married to my lover.

We'll make love twice a day.

We'll only have 2 kids.

I'll go travelling
while he minds them.

For sure!

I'll give you my donkey,

he'll have a cap on his head
like the tourists,

and he'll carry your
beautiful luggage.

"Love strike"!

They're saying:
"Doors and windows shut..."

"the naughty rooster's
not allowed back in!"

"The hen'll get
a good night's sleep!"

I didn't hear anything.

Yesterday, she offered me an egg.

They've got a bit of sunstroke.

Why aren't they getting the water
all of a sudden?

They want to make
a song and dance about it.

It's the modern generation.

They see running water
in houses on TV,

and they want to have it.

Howdy, Hussein?

Come and have a cup of tea!

Later, thanks.

I'm going to pick some flowers.

You're joking!
And we're laughing!

I suspect Leila's behind this.

It's absurd.

You know the proverb:

"Sow and you will reap...
the earth cannot stop you."

Except when there's no rain.

Like that 15-year
drought we had.

You must marry another woman
and get rid of Leila.

She's no good!

Your sisters are
ten times better.

You should have married
the one I'd chosen for you.

I told you:
Love brings bad luck.

Why take someone
from so far away?

She's a witch!

She'll be the ruin of you,
and bring shame on us!

You think I can't hear
the two of you?

- Even in the afternoon!
- How dare you spy on us!

- She's my wife!
- She's your mother!


Ahmed agrees to give you
his daughter, Nouffisa.

What do you say to that?

I'm staying with Leila.

You love me?

I'll never reject you.

I'll never marry anyone else.

You're my princess...

you revolutionary!


you have the right to fight.

It's not a sin.

Enlightened lslam does exist
in other places.

The Islam of Light!

Your battle's a just one.


Where's she got to?

She'll do anything
to get out of work.

You have to help me.

If the strike doesn't work,

we won't have any water!

Why do you want to
change the tradition?

What do you want me
to tell them?

What should I say
to convince them?

Don't you see that the idleness,

lack of money, drought,

have emptied the hearts
of those men?

You want love
to return to the village

in a water pipe?

Hurry up!

Fatima, hurry up.

Mama, can I go to school?

Off you go!

And don't send anyone
to bring her home.

She should stay at school
'til the end.

- Like all the others.
- Don't get on my nerves, Sami.

Good morning, teacher.

Hurry up!
You're late.

Imam, please help me

to convince the parents
to send all the girls to school.

Religious teaching and then
primary school.

At least they could learn
to read and write.

School's a long way off.
Understand their point of view.

And then, what use
would it be to them?

You know very well what happens.

They're more useful
to their mothers as they are.

Useful? They're infants.

If we let them do it,

they'd want to go on studying
in the town.

Who'd pay for that?


And accommodation?

And if they came back
to us pregnant?

If they left for good,
who'd take care of the house?


Children, shoo! Go off home!


Tell them that this money
will serve the general good.

We'll repair the road
and repaint the mosque.

God, O my God

O my God Time is not ashamed

God, O my God

You parted the brightness
of the moon and the sun

God, O my God

I kiss the earth
for grain and water.

God, O my God

I cherish my earth

God, O my God

My earth so full of life

In our village the men

pretend not to hear.

Listen to your wife!

Where are the elders?

Listen, listen,

they were up to it.

Woe to you!

Listen to your wife!

You don't even bring the water

Your arms are weak

Nothing to harvest

The trees are sterile

Our village is ruined!

Listen to your wife!

I sing him songs

but he never listens to me

He listens to the wind... Never his beloved

Listen to your wife!

The tourists give money

Where does it go to... Disappear to?

Why is this fortune gone with the wind?

And you stay at home...

without water for the village.

There's not a hint of relief for us

so this song, this dance

speaks the words
directed at you.

No water?
Your seed will no longer fertilize

our beautiful lands.

I want a fridge and medicines

I want a Mercedes...
a washing machine.

Yes, it's true!
The tourist guide said so.

- Your mothers are crazy!
- They're witches!

It's not true!

Witches! Witches!

Good morning teacher!

Sit down all of you.

Bon appetite.

Is it true that
mama made a love strike?

Just eat!


It's called the
Thousand and One Nights.

It's one of the most beautiful books
in Arab literature...

our heritage.

Unfortunately, few of us
know about it.

Don't tell anyone
I've given it to you,

or I'll have problems.

What's it about?



possession, sex,


My princess,

don't stir up the men.

Be sensible.

Don't make enemies
about the water.

Change the love-strike

to love and respect.


You'll wake the children!

There's your strike for you!

Why are you all looking at me
like that?

I fell down the stairs.

In that Mexican show,

that's what they always say
when their husbands beat them.

Do the ones without
stairs say that?

They ask their husbands to buy
a house with a staircase.

You say you're on strike
and the cellar door is padlocked.

I know it's hard
but we have to hang in there.

Nice words are easy for you, Leila.

Your husband loves you.

Put yourself in our place
for a moment.

It's easy to be a revolutionary
when you're rich.

Woman is a rose

Make a bouquet of her life.

Woman is a breeze

That softens the heat

The woman is honey

Flowing from the beehive

Woman is a sea

How many rivers have fed her

And how many oceans has she filled?

Woman is a doormat

Trampled by anyone

Woman, is an animal,
beast of burden for men

To please him
she slaves in the house

Like the donkey to whom
only burdens fall...

Hardship to all idiots
ruled by the stick!

Wake up!

If they are blind, you see for two.

Raise your heads like banners

If you don't want to end consumed!

your words are bullets.

Show you love us.

Your hearts are like
stagnant pools,

full of fallen angels
and evil spirits.

If you give in,

you won't be loved anymore!

Stir yourselves, you cowards,

show your feelings
and your courage,

or you'll spend your lives
with one foot stuck in the mud.

The village will have water,
I promise you!

Let's not give up.

Leila's right!

"An army of ants
can bring down a lion."

So, you chicken-livered cowards...
Are you up to it?

You've declared a war.

The imam and the sheik
will summon you.

You know they'll accuse you,

and quote the Koran in support?

I imagine so.

Can you imagine all
that can happen?

You better be prepared.

"In the name of God,
the Compassionate, the Merciful.

O mankind, fear your Lord
who created you all from one

and created his wife."

"My love, I miss you,

I dream of the day
when we are in our house.

I will spend my days
watching you,

stroking your olive skin

burying my face in your hair.

I will say to you:
'Te quiero, mi amor,

mi amor, mi amor.'

Will you always love me?

May Allah protect you!
I love you, S'lim."

Let me see!

I have to reply!

I'm too busy right now.

There, there... It'll go away.

Thanks a lot.

You're like my own daughter.

Your mother, whose soul is with Allah,
was like a sister to me.

Help me, Flintlock.

I'm not strong.

How can I go against my husband?

He takes me every night

and he hurts me.

I worry that the children
will be woken.

So you aren't prepared to strike.


Put garlic and chilies in your hair,

it'll make him sneeze
and the odor will turn him off.

Also wear pants and a belt
that are difficult to undo.

If that doesn't work,

each time he makes his move

get up to check
one of the children

and lay it between you.

Tell him it's sick.
He'll be sure to be fooled.

And if that still doesn't work,
call me,

and I'll come and sleep between you.
He wouldn't dare try me!

I don't understand
why I'm sleepy.

Before, every night... Rachida...

I can't bring myself to hit her...

Why am I such a weakling?

Just hit her for no reason.
And never back down!

Come on, you can write to him!

I'll marry him first!

You're not working fast enough.

You spend your time gossiping.

We're set on
a love marriage aren't we?

I'll marry S'lim
and nobody else.

And contraception, too.
No more than 2 kids.

Like that, we can travel.

All in good time.

"She threw off her veils

and stood naked
as the day she was born.

Blessed the womb that bore her!

It was only then that Noor
realized the beauty of the princess,

that her skin was as white as linen,

and she smelled of amber
and roses.

he took her in his arms,

felt for her intimate depths

to reveal her pearl... Intact."

What's wrong with you?

You light the fire in my oven
and I gotta say no to Karim?

Now I gotta throw water
on my coals?

It's a sin to waste my heat...
and the water!

Leila, you're sadistic!

You want me

to run home screaming
for my husband:

"Come and take me!"

I'm trying to share a bit of culture
with you gaggle of hens.

This book is what we are.

It shows that sensuality
can be a pleasure.

Teach me O Madam Sex-Instructor...

How can I pull a sex strike
and still keep my sensuality:

"No, I don't want to!
Yes, no... No more!

Oh, yes, yes!"

No, no!"

Stop it, papa!

Stop it!

Shut up!
Go back to bed!

You wanna strike? Take this one!

We'll see who gives up first!

You wanna strike?

There's your strike!

And you shut up!

Happy now?

She's his wife.
I won't say anything to your brother.

Is there another solution?

Come on guys,
we're gonna be late.

I'll beat her to death
if I have to!

Come on, calm down!

I'll accept anything
except lack of respect!

You gotta agree
it's hard work getting the water.

- You try it.
- It's not that far.

Anyone here tried it?

What is this anyway?
A lightning strike?

No warning?

Has anyone asked them
why they're doing it?

And the government?

Promising us water for years
and done nothing!

We put in a submission to the
Sub-Prefects two years ago!

We've done all we could.

My friends...

bureaucracy is one thing, the affront
by the women is quite another.

They're in defiance of the Koran,

defying tradition
and refusing procreation!

And questioning
our authority as husbands!

And doing it in front
of the children!

It's also the fault of the colonists,

before independence.

We're still poisoned by their ways.

I say we show them who's master!

Calm down, friends!

Sami, what do you think?

You've got some influence over
the young people.

I think we should wait
for a decision from the Sub-Prefect,

and hope our submission...


I'm asking you
what you think about the strike?

Perhaps the women could be helped,

in carrying the water.

And a pipe could be put in
using the tourism money...

...without waiting for the government.
That's my advice.

You can stick it up your...!

Sort your wife out
or I'll do it for you!

Who are you talking about?

You foreigner!

All because she can read and write!

It'll never happen
with our women!

They were led astray.

So you're happy for it
to go on forever?

Why are the others so stubborn
and violent?

- What's the answer?
- Carry the water.

And don't let those old guys
push us around!


May Allah smile on you my son.

How's it going?

Not too tough in town?

You're well?

Yes I got the money,

may Allah preserve and bless you!

Listen, Nassim.

I'll send some cakes for your boss
at the construction site,

and you tell him that I made them
especially for him.

Yes, thanks to God!

What? When are you coming?

Dropped out!

Move it, donkey!

Turn around!

Don't ever do this to me
when I'm talking to my son!

Turn around.

Turn around,
or I'll sell you at the market!

Turn around you stupid animal!

God damn you!

"Te quiero, miamor" for evermore,
with Allah's love, Esmeralda.

Still on strike?

More than ever!

Ah, these women! God only knows
how to get around them.

How much for you and your cart?

- How much'll you pay?
- Gimme a price.


10's fair.


Come on, we'll decide afterwards.

A kilo of semolina.

- How's your son?
- He'll never marry your daughter.

Whadda you mean? You gave your word!

- Witches!
- You broke your promise.

They're witches!

- What'll I say to Ancha?
- That's your problem.

- What's she going to think?
- I don't give a damn!

Where's that witch?
I'm going to kill you!

Stop it!

You've ruined my life!
I spit in your face!

Are you proud of yourself?

You dare to even look at me!

Stop it! That's enough!

Loubna, go to your room!

Leila! Telephone!

Leila, my girl. How are you?

Mama! How lovely to hear you.
Alright, thank God.

You miss me.
Are you okay?

Alright, thank God.

And papa?

Everything's fine, thank God.

And Grandpa and Grandma?

Lis says hi, too.

Grandpa's lying down.
He's got a bad back.

Pray he gets better soon.
Give him a hug from me.

And Marouane, Hafsia, Hiam, Khalid?

Everybody's fine.

Mother, I love you and I'm so happy
to hear from you,

I'd so like to see you,
to see the whole family,

the village... I so miss you all...

Don't talk so quickly, sweetie,

I'm calling on your brother's phone.
He said I've got 5 minutes

What's this about a love strike?
Is it true?

It's a disgrace!
What are people going to think?

Your dowry cost us dearly.
It was not easy for your father.

If he divorces you,
everything's lost.

And your honor as well.

If you're divorced,
only an old or sick man will take you.

What's become of you, girl.
Do you want me to come over there?

Who told you about this?

Mama, who told you?

You know you should have stayed
where you belong.

Down there!

Why did you tell her?

Would you've pulled the strike
in front of your parents?

What do you want from me?
Why do you hate me?

You've stolen my Sami
and my husband.

You've stolen my men from me!

And Mohamed?

You want water to the village.

A submission was put in
two years ago.

Why do you want to change
such an old tradition,

that's been in place
since time immemorial?

You're not dying of thirst
are you?

There are other priorities
you'd be aware of... Electricity.

I know. It's been a year
since you put in poles,

meters, even doorbells.
But no electricity.

I am surprised that an educated man
like you says that.

You know how much electricity costs,

indexed to oil prices?

Do you know how much
all the installations,

have cost already?

Other villages haven't got that far.
Be patient.

Your wives will get electricity,
then water.

And what comes after that?

They'll want a washing machine.

You know the price of them?

So we ask ourselves:

How will they occupy themselves

instead of washing the laundry?

They'll natter endlessly on the phone,
like in those Mexican TV soaps.

Do you have any idea
what phone bills can be?

Take my advice,

don't be in a rush for
water and electricity,

you're better off now!


I saw the head of the school
at the market.

Parents are complaining about you:

You have a bad influence
on their children.

I'm trying to teach them
to think for themselves.

Don't forget,

it's our only income.

I'm well aware of that.

People in the village are saying

that Leila's put a spell on you.

I love Leila like my own daughter...
may Allah be my witness.

But if you don't want to divorce her,

marry a younger one
to give you children.

That'd bring peace...
the village is divided.

Don't say anything.
Think about it.

If you take another wife,
I'm leaving!

You'll never see me again!

They're saying you're a witch.

I shouldn't have taught you to read,

I've woken the devil in you.

I'm confused...
do you support me or not?

I support you,

but it's tearing our world apart.

It's become a complete shambles.


It was that already.

But only we saw it,
and we said nothing.

You're just like the rest!

"The Love-Strike Village"

Nobody saw anyone.

I'm looking for Karim,
do you know him?



What's your name?

Sofiane Ben Chedid!


Take Mr. Sofiane to Karim's.


If you need something,

call me or my wife.

All the family
is at your disposal.


You're doing a report on?


Infinitely small ones...
"The Teeny-Weenies".

Infinitely small...

We should talk to a journalist.
He'll write an article,

then the government will be aware
and do something about our request.

Give it to Sofiane.

He's cute.
He can serenade me any time.

While he tickles your
"infinitely small".

It's war!
You and your "infinitely small".

"Studying insects"!
He's taking the mickey out of you.

He must be a journalist
called here by the women!

We must be vigilant.
Not a word about the strike!

Mr. Sofiane... Sami.

You have to write
in support of our situation:

Too many villages are still
without water and electricity.

This country must modernize.

I'm only interested in insects.
Not politics.

Is the plight of our women,

too big an issue for you?

You're only interested in
the "infinitely small"?

Our lives...

aren't small enough

to interest you?

It's simply not my domain.

Come on!

Sorry about that.

He's snubbing us!

He's playing Mr. City Intellectual,

like we were halfwits!

he's paying for his room,
and I need the money.

Leila here?

- Come in.
- No, tell her to come out.

How are you? Family well?

Fine. And yours?

Fine. What do you want with Leila?

To talk to her about our strike,

that I know you're all for,

and to tell her what a wonderful
mother-in-law you are.

He's waiting for you at the well.

No risk of seeing a man up there.

Try and go alone...

Stay away from the other women.

He really is a handsome chap!


What are you doing here?

My mother died.

I've come to see you.

Go away!

I'm married!


I fell.

He's not here to help us.

I'm tired.

Is there a problem?

No, I'm just tired.

They're not bringing us water.

The journalist
doesn't want to help us,

he's a spineless wimp,
a city snob,

who thinks he's superior.

It'll get violent.

When the men are at the end of their
tether, we should expect the worst.

We'll fight.

One of the effects of drought

is the disappearance of
a wide variety of insects.

Those that survive

are only interested
in finding one thing:


The diversity of the very small,

is dying out.

With the death of the smallest...

Write to S'lim?

"I want to see you, love of my life,

3 months and 6 days
without holding you close.

I should see you, feel you.
Why don't you come?

I came into your village.
I couldn't do more"

Not so fast.

"You pretended not to see me.
Was someone watching you?

I want to see you my love.

Ever so much, S'lim.

I wait for you in our hiding place,
Every day.


Are you crying?

No... Dust in my eye.

What's it like... Making love?

Is it bad?
Is it like an orgasm?

Is it strong? Is it beautiful?
What does it do for you?

Shush! You should be ashamed!

I just want to know everything!

The Mexican women cry out loudly
when they do it,

but I never hear you!

Isn't Sami good?

Where are you going? Answer me!

Pour me some tea.

Sit down.

Don't make war on men,
don't put them down.

My grandfather,
and my father have made war

on the colonists and other tribes

to defend our tribe
and our family.

To defend our water supply too.

While the women
and children were in a safe place.

Many died.

The men travelled far

to make enough to
support the community.

It's never been easy.

They were fighters.

Brave, courageous fighters.

They risked their lives
for their families.

Then I and those of my age
travelled further,

because of drought,
to make a living.

Nobody made us do it.

So, why? Because it's our tradition,
the cycle of our life.

Today, because of the drought,

nothing grows,
animals have barely enough to eat,

there's no work.

And more war.

Trying to find work and money

is a war for us men.

You think men go out of their way

to make war?

Do you?

You just need to protect your family
and your home.

Not make war.

We should just live in peace.

We women aren't afraid of peace.

Leave me... I'm tired.

If the strike continues,
I'll have to dismiss you.

All the parents are accusing you
of bad influence on their children.

Prove you're a man.

Your wife...

I understand.

I have a degree, Mr. Benghazi,
I can take on anything.

Accounting, stock control, sales.

You'll never find an employee
like me.

Look at your hands?

You've never worked.
And your shoulders are like a woman's.


How's things?

Okay... You?

Thanks be to God.

Mr. Benghazi.

I'll leave you.

No, stay, I...

It's okay? We're finished.

What are you doing
with Benghazi?

He's a crook.

We were just talking.

Sami, we're friends.

Maybe not as close
as we once were.

You used to be my best friend.

I never would've said anything,

but I'll say it now.

There was a time
when I didn't talk to you

because you made me
look like an idiot.

Who'd forget your arrogance.
You were top of the class,

Mr. Know-it-all...
I know the answer.

You put me down
in front of everybody.

I wanted to be a writer...

did you know that?

I wanted to be like you,
and do better than you.

But you managed
to put me down so much

that my parents didn't think
I'd amount to anything.

They decided I should quit school.

Just like that.

One morning my father
said a few words

and took my satchel off my back.

He said: "You've finished school!"

And that was that.

Not another word.

I've never forgotten those words.

The next day he sold my satchel
and my books at the market.

I feel better now I've told you.

Is the strike over?

What's up?


I'm happy to see you.

I'm being fired from the school.

I feel sick!

Stop complaining.
Come and help me.

- I feel sick, don't you understand?
- It's just your period.

I don't want to be sick
or have my periods,

or be in a bad mood.
I'm fed up!

Shut up!

You're a woman... You're supposed to
put up with pain without complaining.

It's shameful to talk about it.

You made the love-strike
and you?

You just don't get it!

I'm talking about our
intimate condition...

Get out.

I hate being a woman.

Thirty women of good faith

are ready to come and
marry the men of the village.

We have informed the Grand Mufti

of your wisdom and collaboration,

and that it has been our pleasure
to meet such a brother,

a community leader,
truly faithful to the Prophet.

I'm very honored by your visit
and by our collaboration.

My house is yours.
May Allah guide us.

May it please Allah.

Help yourselves.

Let me help you.

What do you want of me?

Haven't you done enough
to me already?


I love you.

- I've always loved you.
- No!

Still on strike?!

You'd said it was over!

Papa, please stop!

Shut up! Get to sleep!

If you don't stop the strike,
your troubles have only begun!

Come on.

What is it?

You lied to me!

All these years you lied to me!

And to all my family!

You were tarnished when I married you!

Not a virgin! A whore!

And on top of that...

Who are you?

I'd been promised
to someone else.

I loved him, Sami!

I loved him! He was
the most beautiful thing in my life.

Before he left me.
Before I should meet you.

I was 15 years old,
we saw each other in secret.

I refused him for a long time.
We only kissed.

- I don't want to hear it!
- Yes, you have to know!

I want to tell you everything.

We were in love. We wanted to do it.
Day after day we suffered.

Shut up!

He promised to marry me.

Six months later
he was married to someone else.

Chosen by his mother.
A rich girl from town!

Job opportunities!

Important family! Lots of money!

I was a nobody!


Shut up.

You're finished.

It's over.

I lied because I was afraid
you'd reject me.

The same with your family.

Through loving you,

you understand?

What do you believe?

That it was easy for me
to drag up this shame?

To make myself feel dirty?

I regret I lied to you, Sami.

I love you.

I'll always love you.

Do you still love him?

Love... Love...

I was also in love with a boy

when my parents
gave me to my husband.

I regretted all my life
that I didn't run away with him.

He must have suffered.

What young girl isn't in love
before she gets married?

Even Fatima...

Fatima was in love with...

but her parents preferred Hussein.

Didn't you know that?

After the wedding,
she refused to eat for a week.

She was 13.

A year later, Mohamed was born.

Her first child.

By giving birth so young,

her own childhood
was stolen from her.

Fatima has always acted

as if it was his fault.

Mohamed never really had

a mother's love.

Right now I love Sami.

And I've lied to him.

You've had the chance
to be loved

twice in one lifetime.

Is he going to leave me?


You can't come in.

- What are you talking about?
- You're forbidden!

Since when?!

Ask your brother Mohamed!


Listen to me.

Come here my boy.

You all know Nassim,
old Flintlock's son.

He's become somebody
of importance

If a solution is not found soon,
they have one!

Go on, lie down.

Starting tomorrow,
you'll be wearing the veil.

I'm fed up with having you
flaunt yourself to the world.

Mama, tell us
the story of the snail.


I don't need your money.

I thought you were working
on a construction site,

that you earned
your money honestly...

it seems I was mistaken.

That's not all you sent me,

but we didn't spend much.

Don't send anymore,

we won't accept it.

You aren't getting rid of her.

And you say nothing to anyone.


Not pleased?

My little kiss?

It isn't S'lim who gives you the letters.
It's Leila.


What are you talking about?

Kissy-kiss... I'm in a hurry!

No kiss... Tell me the truth,
I've seen you together!

Why do you
give him those letters?

It's you who writes them...
not S'lim!

Tell me!

Tell me!

Stop screaming!

He gives them to me because his
mom saw him with the peddler.

That's why he avoided you
in his village.

Why don't you give them
straight to me?

What about the kiss...

For the peddler?

Come on, we're going into action.

Hurry up!

There they are!

At last!

Hurry up!


Come here, Karim.

What's the writing say?

"Your hearts are as dry and thorny

as this well."

Burn this well!

Take that!

Auntie Fatima.

What do you want?

The Imam asks for Leila
to come and see him at the Mosque.

I'll tell her.

Take care.

Say hi to your family for me!

To act against procreation, love

and the authority of the father
and husband, is a sin!

You will appreciate that
this has gone on long enough.

Sourate... Chapter 4, verse 34:

"To be virtuous, a woman
must be obedient.

Any whom you believe to be

admonish them,

lay them on their beds

and beat them."

What if the drought persists

or one day the insect
finds water


Sit down.


It is legal for a husband
to beat his wife.

But the blows
should not be violent.

Allah is saying to the husband:

The correction should be

of an educational
and affectionate nature,

as a father who smacks a child

or a teacher who slaps a pupil.

How did all this come about?

Flintlock, I've known you
as responsible,

wise and sensible.

Your irrational action confuses
children's minds.

Our village has been ridiculed.

I am the guarantor of order,
compliance with the law, and the Koran!

I remind you of your duties
as women,

and of our traditions.

Know that the men of the village,
headed by the sheik,

have proposed a radical solution:

To divorce all of you and bring in
other women, if you persist.

Stop this strike.

Go home, and tonight,

open your hearts and your arms
to your husbands.

And all will be forgotten.

Your son said you are in a jihad
against men.

He took the righteous
path of Allah.

You should lead by example.

A jihad against men?

We're in a jihad
against ourselves,

against our condition
and against injustice.

To improve things.

My son wants to replace you, lmam.

Are you aware he
wants to replace you?

He's paid the sheik
and will pay all the others

to get what he wants!

I don't know where
all that money comes from.

You... Are going to kill me.

because we loved the same woman?

And when I'm dead,

do you think
Leila will love you more?

What are you after?

Why did you come?

I don't know.

Maybe I secretly hoped
she didn't love you,

that she'd want to come away
with me.

But the whole village says
Leila loves you,

and that you...

You love her too much.

"That you love her too much!"

That's right... That's what they say.

So... What am I doing here?

I don't know any more.

What is lslam

and the holy wisdom
of the Prophet Mahomet,

that we must hail Him
and pray to Him?

Is it religion?

It's the happiness from
communion with Allah.

Islam gives us the rules
for living together,

of respect and love for one another,
and fulfils our desire for spirituality.

It raises us!

All of us, men and women!

All the rest is just interpretation,

twisting the holy scriptures
for personal interest, lmam!

Let's start at the beginning.
The Almighty said:

"In the name of Allah, The Compassionate,
The Merciful.

O peoples! Fear your Lord

Who created you
from a single soul

and created therefrom its mate

and from them twain

spread many men and women."

Listen to the hadith
narrated by Tirmidhi:

"Women are the sisters of men."

The Prophet,
my prayers and salutations be upon him,

has wished
that men and women be equal.

Equal, Imam!

Equal doesn't mean men at the top,
giving orders, deciding,

and women at the bottom,
obeying, procreating.

Equal doesn't mean women beaten.

Yes I read, lmam.
And not only the Koran.

And I'm not the only one
in the village that thinks this way.

Why shouldn't I have the right

to read, write,
think, interpret?

Koran 58, 11:

"And God will raise up
those who believe

And those who will have
received the knowledge."

Who wouldn't want women
to be raised by God?

Aren't we Muslims,
the same as the men?

Imam, the drought saps our earth
and our hearts.

That's our only problem.

As the fertile earth makes us
and it's we who give life.

Why do only men

get to decide our future?

The men should be
carrying the water!

So... Have you put those witches
in their place?

Sometimes I ask myself
if you're really a woman.

Why do you only stick up
for the men?

Fucking shit!

Is this the only path?

There's a highway nearby.

And a cable-car.

So... Have you joined the strike?

And some sweets for the kids.


Have you seen the way
he looks at you?

Watch out, even his donkey's
better looking than him.

- He's a nice man.
- So what?

He thinks he can "open sesame"
with 3 bonbons!

Where'd you get
all that money from?

Don't say anything, okay?
I sold a dress to S'lim's wife.

S'lim? Which S'lim?

S'lim d'Ajdir.
He's a cutie, eh?

All the girls dream about him.

His mother got him married
to the richest woman in the valley:

Rhim... Hassan
the accountant's daughter.

You alright?


- When were they married?
- Three months ago.

All I need is my Koran
and enough to eat.

Good day to you.

Imam, have you conquered them, then?

Are we allowed back
in their beds?


But I don't know when.

Maybe when the drought breaks.

Look at me in the eye, Nassim.
I'm your mother.

Why should I have to
wear the veil?

You're a woman.

Who brought you the world,
you and your beard?

Get up!

Why the veil? Why hide me?

Am I an object of lust?
An instrument of Satan?

If your father hadn't wanted me,
you wouldn't be here.

The veil came in in the old days

to distinguish free women
from the slaves,

so as to recognize them.

In those days, the woman with no veil
was a slave,

easy to own.

There aren't any slaves
any more.

All women are free.

And no woman, you hear me,

should be easy to own!

And if Man desires Woman,
it's the will of Allah.

But it doesn't make us either slaves
nor objects to cover...

...just to stifle men's lust.

You close your eyes!

Be strong... Control
your satanic desires yourself,

Cover your eyes, not our faces.

"Flies only crawl into open mouths!"

Don't let yourself
be manipulated, my boy.

You're responsible for everything
you say and do.

You have a brain, you can reason,
you don't have to join the mindless mob.

Allah is great,

and He expects us all to be
responsible for one another.

And to the Prophet...

We should be proud, upstanding

respecting ourselves
and our community.

If you hate just one man,

you hate everyone
in the community.

And leave our Imam alone.

If you replace him,

I swear before God...
I'll kill you myself!

Maybe you're right:

We can't continue.

The imam is destabilized, and the sheik
and the Islamists are delighted.

They'll take power.

You shouldn't start a war
unless you know how to stop it.

I didn't start the war.
It was already there.

I don't understand:

Do you want to stop or not?

What do you want, my love?


Just the water, or much more?

Are you out to challenge

Destroy all tradition?

What is a woman?

What is a woman as far as
you men are concerned?

Are you saying
I don't respect you?

That I underestimate you?

So what are you saying?

That I exist!

I exist!

You okay?


- You here to kill me today?
- No, not today.

I think I know why you're here.

Tell me.

In three days, come to Ouria,
the largest village in the area.

Everyone'll be there
for the Harvest Festival.


You'll understand down there.

You wanna write to S'lim?

Not today.

If you're go out
you'll get some more.

They want to humiliate us
in front of the world.

They want to talk about their strike
at the Harvest Festival.

And convince other women
to do the same.

Nawal told me everything.

The other women
will be here in a week.

Ours shouldn't be allowed
at the Festival!

There'll be nobody there
to stop them...

...but I have a plan.

Thank you.

They know everything. They're going to
stop us going to the Festival.

There is only one solution...

All of us veiled.

Free men salute you

Vigilant and alert day and night

The dove bids you welcome

Face with work I never flee

Sleeves rolled up
Perspiring brow

Peace and quiet
Reinforce my heart


You'll see.

Men, O root of truth and reality...

I savor your shoulders' sweat
on a beautiful morning

The harvest is good
What a blessing...

The woman is a bird
That announces the day

And turned the trees green

Woman is the root
Who binds the roots

She is the energy
Who advances time

Thanks to her
Time does not disappear

Nor falter.

They say the year has been good

The year is good
For the harvest is too

Here is the news
from our village

Our men spent their time
drinking tea

Purses full,
but with empty hearts

Isn't it sad
that flowers wither?

Even when men have
always watered them

Men water them with relish.

Lend me your ears and
listen carefully:

No water to the village?
Then let there be no truce...

A strike will be our woman's ruse!

The tourist income
should pay for water to the village

Right S'lim?

It's over... We offer no cheek to kiss

If you approve,
write what's happening in your paper.

Women, you'll become goats

And who wants to see
a goat in their bed?

We must never admit defeat.

The infinitely small
can sometimes be

more majestic
than anything supposedly great.


fresh air,


even love

can gush forth at any time.

It's been a long time
since I wrote to S'lim.

Don't you want to help me

I didn't think you wanted to.

I'm going to write.


What's he saying, Leila,
what's he saying?

"Te quiero, mi amor!"

Te quiero, Esmeralda!

Urgently, please.


We're eating. Sit down.

We won.

I've been summoned
to the prefect's office.

A committee's being set up.

Sofiane's article created
a terrific debate in the Assembly.

It accused the government of
keeping water from its own people.

They're worried it'll be catching,

and that women all over the country
will join the cause,

and demand other rights
besides water.

The government wants
a swift and unpublicized solution.

We've always supported
the women's approach.

They themselves
appreciated our going by the book.

Water had to be piped
in order to relieve them.

- A submission was submitted.
- Correct.

The work starts tomorrow.
The whole village has to help.

We must settle this quickly!

- And the budget?
- That's all taken care of.

Hussein, how're things?

Join us.

Later thanks, lmam.

I gotta pull up some daffodil roots.

Allah be with you.

Get out of my sight!

Clear off!

Who are those two men?
What's going on?

They aren't from the village.
This way.

My princess...

You okay?

God didn't make men
and women the same

Don't make a love-strike

Rock your babies and dress them

You didn't expect it?

O men, it is shameful!

Everyone in the village knows

We've seen men
down in the wadi...

...washing the clothes!

"Thanks for everything, Big Sister.

For me learning
to read and write.

Do you realize
I'm writing this myself?

Don't worry,
the peddler got his little kiss.

Leila, I know you wrote those letters
in the name of S'lim.

In the beginning I wanted it,

But I hated you
for lying to me...

Then I realized
I probably would have done the same.

I would have saved the idea of love
even if the man had gone away."

Warmer than the sun

The man

A true lion

Full of strength and spirit is the man

Strong in all things is the man

In my dreams he comes to me, the man

And bares his secrets all to me, the man

He promises to dwell
deep inside me, the man

Cherishing my sighs and my body.

"I decided to leave.
I said nothing to anyone.

I didn't know where I was going,
or what sort of life I might have

but I'll be free

and I'm sure I'll find love again.

Goodbye, Leila, my sister.

Te quiero, Loubna."

The earth says it can't give life
without water

A woman's divine spring

isn't water

"La source des femmes" is love.