In Morocco, as in many Muslim countries, children born out of wedlock are often shunned by wider society, along with their parents, and refused access to education and healthcare. In this nuts-and-bolts documentary, filmmaker Deborah Perkin meets the women of Association Solidarité Féminine, a charity in Casablanca devoted to gaining legal rights for mothers and their children.
Granted unprecedented access to the Moroccan court system, Perkin follows the journey of Rabha El Haimer, a woman sold into a semi-legal traditional marriage at the age of 14 who is now fighting to get recognition for her six-year-old daughter. It’s a straightforward story simply but powerfully told, as Rabha confronts the man who raped and beat her as a child, producing a string of likeably shambolic witnesses to back up her distressing account. There’s a lingering sense that Perkin doesn’t quite get to the dark heart of the matter – it would have been good to see her giving the traditionalists a voice, and a rope with which to hang themselves – but this is timely, unfussy and effective filmmaking.