Arab Film Festival: FLESH OUT

October 13 only


Verida is due to marry in three months which has been arranged by her parents. According to a tradition still practiced in Mauritania that adheres to accepted standards of beauty called “gavage,” she is forced to gain weight to attain the well-rounded, fuller figure that is supposed to appeal to her future husband. Three months before her marriage, her routine unfolds quietly and steadily as she sets about consuming no fewer than six meals per day and regularly weighing herself to assess her progress. An obedient daughter, she does not for one moment question the goal of 45 extra pounds her mother has set for her; nor does she put up much resistance to being woken up in the middle of the night to eat one more bowl of milk and another of couscous. But the process gets harder as it progresses which puts an increasing strain on her, both physically and emotionally.

In the meantime, however, Verida has attracted the attentions of another man, and begins to ask herself if she wants to continue her “gavage.” Based on actual events, Michela Occhipinti’s feature fiction debut is a meticulous and gentle observation of the polarizing tensions that permeate the modern female experience in twenty-first century Mauritania.

Director Michela Occhipinti. 2019, 94 mins. In Hassaniya with English subtitles.


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