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Satin Rouge

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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(May 27, 2003)
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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.

Special Features

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

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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000093FJJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,757 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Satin Rouge" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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.
Read more ›
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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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Format: DVD
Note: Arabic with English subtitles.

This is a great women's empowerment film, but you don't have to be female to enjoy it. Lilia (Hiam Abbassa) is a widowed, middle-aged woman living the life a unexciting reclusive lifestyle as a seamstress. Her only child, a daughter, is a college student who has a life of her own and has only marginal contact with her Mother.

Her life appears to be going nowhere until she happens to meet a bellydancer while shopping at a local cloth store. She is hired by her new aquaintance a few days later comes to the cabaret to deliver the repaired outfit. Immediately captivated by the rhythmic drums and the swirling dancers see finds herself returning night after night to absorb the music and atmosphere.

Eventually she musters up enough courage to try it for herself. With only a few quick pointers from the girls she borrows an outfit and takes the stage. While her technique is poor and amateurish, her energy and enthusiasm draws the attention of the male patrons and she soon becomes the most popular performer. Her success at the cabaret slowly begins to bring about positive changes in Lilia life, as she faces her problems with the same determinatiion she brings to her dancing. Eventually she becomes a self-confident, assertive woman who can once again embrace life and love.

The music is fantastic, the atmosphere exotic and Hiam Abbass is the perfect mixture of innocence and sensuality. Highly recommended!
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