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Judge Brendan Babish • Location: Upland, CA
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Philadelphia Film Festival Review #8: Hamlet of Women
April 8th, 2006 5:01PM

Title: Hamlet of Women
Director: Mohamed Chouikh

Hamlet of Women is an Algerian film about a group of Muslim women who are forced to defend their small town from terrorists after the men have all left for factory work in the city. Surprisingly, like the similarly-themed Home Alone, the movie tackles its grim subject matter with an abundance of cheer and whimsy.

The women of this tiny hamlet are much like American women. They gossip about men, make fun of their husbands, and ignore the chastisements of old clerics. With the abundance of media images of Muslims blowing up day care centers and burning American flags, itís refreshing to see practitioners of the religion portrayed as fun-loving moderates.

Especially amusing is the behavior of the old clerics, who stayed behind with the women because they were too feeble to work in the factory. The old men bicker with each other, issue petty jihads and fall asleep whenever theyíre needed. I have no idea how prevalent the mockery of religious leaders is in Algeria, but itís nice to see that not all Muslims take their religion so deathly serious.

Hamlet of Women is going to be a tough film to find, but if it ever is released on DVD I highly recommend adding it to your Netflix queue, or whatever it is you use to get your cinema fix.

Grade: B+

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