“Unlike my character in 'Adam', I am a free woman”

The actress is in the poster for the film “Adam”, the first feature film of her compatriot, the Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Touzani.

The young Moroccan actress Nisrin Erradi lavishly plays Samia in Adam, the first feature film by the Moroccan director and screenwriter Maryam Touzani, currently in theaters. Her performance won her the best actress award at the Durban International Film Festival (South Africa) and been greeted during the Festival of El Gouna (Egypt). We met her during the presentation of the film at the last edition of the Cannes Festival.

Samia, pregnant and left to herself in the medina of Casablanca, decides to turn to an unknown woman, Abla (Lubna Azabal) who runs a pastry shop, offering her services. This meeting, imposed by the vicissitudes of life, will upset the destiny of these two Moroccan women who are trying to build themselves and exist despite a stifling patriarchal system. Adam is a duo whose members are not on the same wavelength and who, little by little, will agree despite the singularity of their routes. The refined staging of Maryam Touzani, nourished by the talent of her actresses who sublimate their respective characters, makes this first film a very beautiful cinematographic object on the status of women in Morocco. The feature has received numerous awards since its world premiere on the Croisette.

How did Maryam Touzani approach you for this role?

Maryam called me and I cast on a very strong sequence in the film. I had tears in my eyes and I really got into the character of Samia from the first time, thanks to Maryam. When I read the script, that feeling got worse. And Samia never left me during the entire preparation of the film. I had taken vacations and I was in Barcelona, ​​Paris, Turkey and Samia was with me all the time. The character was already installed before filming. Samia was my girlfriend (laughs)… As if by chance, I only saw pregnant women on the street. I had the material to work. I also observed a lot my big sister, who had just given birth, and her baby. I also helped her take care of him.

What are we doing to appropriate Samia, a character who is both strong, stoic …

Very hard … Among the characters I have already interpreted, Samia occupies a special place. He touched me a lot not as an actress but as a human being. It was very hard to embody it from a psychological point of view. The things Samia went through are strange to me. If I get pregnant, I won't be in the same situation as her. Unlike Samia, I am free. I do what I want. This is the main difficulty I encountered in playing this character. All the scenes were very hard for me. But, at the same time, this experience gave me a nice feeling.

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And the scenes with the baby, Warda – Douae Belkhaouda in the city -, with whom Samia is very close … Playing with children is not easy …

It’s very difficult to play with babies because they don’t play. They cry when they want to cry (laughs). As for Douae, she is superb. She was chosen after a wild casting. She is very spontaneous … We were friends on set (smile).

There is a real chemistry between Lubna Azabal and yourself. Which gives incredible strength to your characters and to the evolution of the relationship between the two women which is reflected in one of the most striking scenes of the film …

From our first meeting, the current passed between Lubna and me. She helped me a lot. We worked a lot on this scene. You can't imagine how much. We have repeated it over and over again.

Samia says about women : “Nothing belongs to us.” In Morocco, there are of course women like you, free, and women like Samia who are less so. What touched you in this portrait of women who are more or less trying to resist social contingencies?

This is a very important issue for us. Women must free themselves. We must make choices and assume them. I am a feminist. I love strong women and I am a strong woman. In Morocco, for example, women cannot live like men. This is a sad observation and there is nothing we can do about it. All I can do is enjoy my freedom. I can do it for myself but I can't do anything for others. And it's unfortunate.

Adam by Maryam Touzani
With Lubna Azabal, Nisrin Erradi and Douae Belkhaouda
French release: February 5, 2020


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