INCH'ALLAH DIMANCHE, a deep and poetic film about the immigrant experiences of an Algerian family in France, is set in the aftermath of WWII. In an attempt to replenish its weakened work force, France recruits men from North Africa. Years later, in 1974, the government invites their wives and children to join them and immigrate to France.
Zouina (played in a near-silent and richly emotional performance by Fejria Deliba) is an Algerian woman with three young children who travels with her mother-in-law, Aicha (played in an abrupt, hostile, and powerful performance by Rabia Modedem), to meet her husband, Ahmed (Zinedine Soualem). Torn from her own loving mother and harshly browbeaten by Aicha, Zouina rejoins a distant husband who scorns her and finds herself imprisoned in a land that is foreign and unaccommodating to her Algerian traditions. Her neighbor, Madame Donze (a hilarious France Darry), is both fearful of Zouina's otherness and so obsessed with winning the prize for the best flower garden that she cannot empathize with Zouina. Meanwhile, a young woman who works in a makeup factory, Nicole (Mathilde Seigner), helps Zouina feel accepted, and sparks her interest in French culture and the new world around her. It is this curiosity, and Zouina's longing for freedom and experience, that drives Zouina to take secret excursions with her children on Sundays, the one day that her husband and mother-in-law are out of the house. Through these little adventures, she comes to terms with the difficulties of immigration, change, and adaptation to a new culture. INCH'ALLAH DIMANCHE is a complex, textured film with a beautiful, moving soundtrack, and excellent performances by its delectable cast.
This film was included in the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2002 festival organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.