A Thousand Months

Faouzi Bensaidi's leisurely evocation of life in a small Moroccan village in the early 80s is deceptively simple, most of its drama revolving around a wooden chair. Yet beneath the seemingly innocuous folkloric color and the gently satiric depiction of local officials lurks a quiet desperation, rooted in religious and sociopolitical repression. Though at first the family at the film's center seems an integral part of the dusty landscape and the rural routines, the woman and her son are actually from the city, forced to take refuge with her father-in-law after her husband is unjustly arrested. The young boy, told his father is in Paris, handily adapts to his new environment, but his mother and grandfather slowly crack under the pressure of exile and economic hardship. When events turn sinister, albeit still quasi-farcical, flight, not tragedy, brings down the curtain. In Arabic with subtitles. 124 min. (Ronnie Scheib) (Landmark, 6:30)

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