Ordinary Boys (Chico normales, Spain, 2008)

Typical lads

Typical lads

The premise of this film is fascinating: it’s set in a Moroccan village where the Madrid bombers originated and looks at the ordinary lives of its residents. It doesn’t quite work for me but there was much that was engaging.

The film attempts to look at the social context – poverty – that leads individuals to become terrorists (the film’s careful to distinguish the Madrid bombing terrorism from the Palestinian resistance which, it rightly says, is justified). Focusing on  two ‘ordinary boys’, and female Law graduate Rabia, the film portrays the lack of opportunity for the young and the rather fatalistic attitude of the older. Whilst one lad gets mixed up with a drug dealing gang, the other thinks going (illegally) to Spain will solve his problems. However we never get to see the ‘fundamentalists’ who persuaded the bombers – their meeting place has ‘closed down’. I think this is problematic but probably a function of the documentary style, the cast are non actors + locations shooting, of the film

The position of women in Muslim society is also dealt with through Rabia who rejects becoming at the ‘beck and call’ of a man and desires equality. Throughout the film she rejects wearing the hijab, saying she’ll wear it when she wants. At the film’s close she decides to do but this isn’t explained.

Although Spanish in origin Ordinary Boys is, in effect, a Moroccan film and so is a fascinating, if flawed, glimpse into another world not so far away (from the west).

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One Response

  1. This films sound very interesting 😮

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