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Satin Rouge (2002)

Hiam Abbass , Hend El Fahem , Raja Amari  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)


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Satin Rouge + The Syrian Bride (La Novia Siria) [NTSC/REGION 1 & 4 DVD. Import-Latin America] + Where Do We Go Now?
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Product Details

  • Actors: Hiam Abbass, Hend El Fahem, Maher Kamoun, Monia Hichri, Faouzia Badr
  • Directors: Raja Amari
  • Writers: Raja Amari
  • Producers: Alain Rozanès, Dora Bouchoucha Fourati, Pascal Verroust
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000093FJJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,047 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Satin Rouge" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Optional English subtitles
  • U.S. theatrical trailer
  • Print interview with filmmaker Raja Amari
  • Essay on the origins of belly dancing

Editorial Reviews

A Tunisian widow takes an unlikely journey of self-discovery in Raja Amari's sumptuous and sensual SATIN ROUGE. While investigating a suspected liaison between her headstrong teenaged daughter and a cabaret musician, Lilia becomes drawn to an exhilarating nightclub netherworld of Rubenesque belly dancers and nocturnal pleasure-seekers. In trading her shapeless housedresses for sequins and satin, she begins to emerge from her cocoon of melancholy and loneliness. Writer-director Amari's tale of liberation recalls Douglas Sirk's 1950s suburban melodramas as it also paints a distinctly modern portrait of Arab women.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars some things I just felt like saying about "Satin" April 28, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Lilia, a widowed mother, endures a painfully lonely and boring life in modern-day Tunisia. Her empty existence (punctuated by infrequent visits from extended family members, and nearly as infrequent interludes with her daughter, Salmah) involves little more than keeping her apartment neat and tidy - you'd almost think she were a ghost who'd forgotten she was no longer alive. That is...until the sounds of her TV and her busy city are suddenly drowned out by an Arabic song - an Arabic crooner, some chords of an oud and the beat of a drum - and Lilia gives briefly herself to the music. Mostly, Lilia worries about Salmah - a blossoming young woman whom Lilia realizes is hiding something. At first thinking the secret is a new boyfriend, Lilia finds Salmah in bellydancing classes, and begins to think that the secret is not a new boyfriend (like the admirer who plays Darabouka in Salmah's classes) but a new job working the floors of some seedy cabaret. In search of Salmah, Lilia sneaks into the nearest smoke-filled cabaret, finding, not Salmah nor any of the younger girls with whom Salmah shared her time or her dancing. Over-glammed up, with costumes to match, the dancers of "Satin Rouge" are more like glamorous variations on Lilia - Past their prime, older than they could be and still hope to turn their art into stardom. They will never be confused with those dancers made famous in decades of Arabic movies - but once on the floor, the Women of "Satin Rouge" make up for it on gallons of unleaded oomph - following the darabouka beat (played by the same boy who sets the rhythm at Salmah's classes and, ironically enough really is her boyfriend). Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This movie started off somewhat languidly, and lulls you into a sleepy mood but then picks up towards the middle. This Tunisian movie portrays the woman as liberated from the traditions, religion, and social conformism, as opposed to women in some other Arabic/Muslim countries. People might think this country is located in the Middle East but is in North Africa.

What makes "Satin Rouge" an adorable film is that Director Amari uses the belly-dancing element to explore the prevailing social values and to comment on the emotional numbness of modern life. Hiam Abbass as Lilia is a beautiful lady whose appearance and character grows as she goes out at night. The sets and the costume are well placed, and the dance scenes are a pleasure to the eye. The plot of the romance is well developed, as it takes twists and turns before it irons itself out.

This film had kept my interest and could have gone either two ways. It could have ended either comically or tragically. There are certainly laughs along the way, but in a nervous way. In any case, "Satin Rouge" does offer a pleasurable dance into another culture that just might appeal to you.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Where to start? For a movie I have been waiting to watch for well over a year, I must first say that I was not disappointed. What was the theme? Was it about a belly dancer, or was it about a widowed mother rediscovering life itself? Despite my obsession and often single visioned approach to things - the belly dancing itself was just a setting to frame the larger story.
What happens, when all you've lived for is slipping out of your hands. Widowed with a daughter grown, and ready to leave; Existing within a society where both men and women are a constant pressure and discouragement towards a woman's independence in life, the future may indeed look grim.
Lillia, by accident, stumbles across the nightlife in the caberets - a place where no respected woman would dare go. Why? She originally suspected her daughter of being there with one of the musicians when she did not come home that night. Instead, she found a whole new world. Shocked at first by the smokey atmosphere, bold dancers, and loud audience, she tried to stay away from it... but the friendship of the main dancer, and the allure of the night life itself beckoned to her caged spirit.
By accident she found herself actually dancing one night, encouraged by the rhythm from the darbouka and the clapping and enthusiastic response of the local audience. Her next evening there, she was once again lured out to the floor to dance, though reluctant at first. The playful, flirtatious drum beats egged her on, as did the dancers who came up to help her find the beat. With the applause and praise of the audience, something within broke free, and she lost herself to the wild excited joy of the dance.
After that evening she was theirs.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A must for all belly dancers October 22, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
It was great to see an authentic belly dancing story. I'm a bellydancer who has over five years of performing experience, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to see a Tunesian story about a belly dancer. Unfortunately, the film confirmed my suspicion that belly dancers in the Middle East are what strippers are to the West. It is clear early in the film that a "respectable" woman wouldn't belly dance, and the many scenes in the cabaret confirm my analogy is correct. In the final scene, the middle-aged heroine is looking foolish as she belly dances desperately to seek attention.
I was expecting a story of feminine empowerment, and I got the opposite. As well, I was expecting great dance scenes, and again I got the opposite. As far as the story goes, the film's director underestimates the viewers' intelligence.
That said, it would be absolutely crazy for any belly dancer to pass this movie up. Authentic dancing in its native cultural setting is something so few of us ever get to experience. It's worth it just for that education. Although it wasn't what I hoped for, it was engaging and entertaining, and the music was great. Finally, the subtitles were well displayed and easy to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie, But...
This is a good movie, alternating good moments and bad ones in the life of Lilia (Hiam Abbass), who manages to make a change in her life, and become a belly dancer, for her own... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mauro Primo
3.0 out of 5 stars What Life Is Like For Women In Tunisia
The dancing is fine, but I do not approve of how women are treated in Tunisia and other Islamic countries. I am glad that my daughter did not get treated in this way.
Published 15 months ago by Zarathustra
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE MOVIE
As a native of the Middle East (Egypt) who had to leave his beloved native land because of extreme religious fundamentalism, totalitarian government policies; as well as burgeoning... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Georges
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story - doesn't do much for Belly D
On the bright side, the music is very good, and the story is very good though perplexing. However, as Belly Dancer myself, I find the situations insulting to my profession. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tina
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly complex story of a middle-aged woman's liberation
Sweet, and ultimately surprisingly complex. A middle aged Tunisian
widow re-discovers herself and her sexuality through belly dancing at a
nightclub. Read more
Published on September 5, 2010 by K. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fascinating
I enjoyed this movie. The slow pace of development meant I really needed to hang in to see the line of the story. It gets better. Read more
Published on November 13, 2009 by Jean E. Prescott
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Belly Dance drama
I loved the reality of this story. Most of us who belly dance can relate to being an average Jane during the day and a Belly Dancing goddess at night. Read more
Published on February 17, 2007 by Kira Lang
5.0 out of 5 stars Releasing Her Hidden Flame - Igniting Her Inner Passions
Lilia is an attractive widow, apparently in her early 40s who lives an upstanding conservative lifestyle in a city of Tunisia. Read more
Published on November 20, 2006 by Erika Borsos
5.0 out of 5 stars Come to the Cabaret !
Lilia (Hiam Abbass) is a lonely bored widow living within the confines of the social order in Tunisia. Read more
Published on March 1, 2006 by MICHAEL ACUNA
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabaret Nights ~ A Microcosm Of Life
Note: Arabic with English subtitles.

This is a great women's empowerment film, but you don't have to be female to enjoy it. Read more
Published on December 9, 2005 by Brian E. Erland
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