Fatima was the unforeseen best picture winner of the 2016 César Award, France's equivalent of our very own Oscars. It's the kind of low-key, unpretentious movie that still has a lot to say.
Optimism and goodwill are key themes in Philippe Faucon’s drama, a story about a mother facing daily racism in France as well as rejection from her two daughters, Nesrine and especially Souad.
"Your generation and ours, it’s not the same” shouts Souad, who feels ashamed that her mother is a janitor, while she has big expectations for her career. The film offers a look inside Paris’ projects and the inherent social pressure it causes.
Yet, the film never feels didactic thanks to Philippe Faucon’s empathy for his main character, a mother still filled with hopes and dreams, and a certain pride for working hard and helping her two daughters being much more integrated into French society than she is. Fatima is the real hero here and her attitude through struggles can only be awe-inspiring and leaves viewers with a certain appetite for life.