x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

An audience with Kadija Leclere in Dubai

We meet Kadija Leclere, a Moroccan-Belgian director whose film Bag of Flour will be screened in Dubai tomorrow.

Kadija Leclere's film Bag of Flour is an attempt to bridge the gap between religions. Sahara Productions
Kadija Leclere's film Bag of Flour is an attempt to bridge the gap between religions. Sahara Productions

The director of the film Bag of Flour (Le Sac de Farine) will be ready to field questions from a Dubai audience at the screening of her film tomorrow.

The 92-minute drama is the first feature from Moroccan-Belgian filmmaker Kadija Leclere, who says it is an attempt to bridge the gap between religions.

She hopes the film’s message will ring true to the ears of her Dubai audience.

“I hope the film will open people’s minds, so they do not judge others,” Leclere says.

Set in 1975, Bag of Flour follows the life of Sarah (Rania Mellouli), who is brought up in a Catholic orphanage in Belgium and then abducted when she is 8 years old by her Moroccan biological father. He brings her to a small village in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where he suddenly abandons her.

The only schooling she is offered is that of knitting. Nine years later Sarah is a teenager, like all the other children.

Well, almost – she never stops dreaming about going back to the Belgium of her childhood, to the school, the books and a life that she imagines as free.

Sarah’s story is based on the director’s own life; Leclere was kidnapped and locked up for more than two years.

“This happens to girls all the time. It’s a problem when parents from different cultures and religions get a divorce. They want their children to live in their own country.

“But after they bring their children back, they can’t look after them even if they want to,” explains Leclere.

She says the father in the film just wanted the best for his daughter, “to give his values to his daughter – it’s normal”.

Bag of Flour, which premiered in 2011, was selected by numerous international film festivals, including the Dubai International Film Festival and the Montpellier, Brussels, Rome, Irvine, Goteborg and Agadir festivals.

It won prizes for Best Actress (Rania Mellouli), Best Screenplay and the Jury Prize at the 39th Brussels Independent Film Festival and the Jury Prize at the 61st International Film Festival Mannheim Heidelberg in Germany.

• The screening, organised by The Scene Club, Dubai’s regular monthly film club, will be held at Dubai’s Knowledge Village Conference Centre. There will be a one-hour networking session before the screening, which starts at 9pm, followed by a Q&A session with Leclere

molson@thenational.ae

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