“Kung-Fu Zohra”, a film by Mabrouk el Mechri, was released in our theaters in March 2022. Its proposal was then surprising, with a rather rare genre in France: the martial arts film. Especially since the little beetle was none other than a woman: Sabrina Ouazani… For this film, the director was inspired by his parents.
Kung-Fu Zohra, a French comedy carried by Sabrina Ouazani and Ramzy Bedia
For his fifth film titled Kung Fu ZohraMabrouk el Mechri once again explored the fight theme. It is through a heroine named Zohra (played by Sabrina Ouazani) that he enters the genre of martial arts movie. The latter, beaten by her husband Omar (played by Ramzy Bedia) decides to retaliate on learning the Kung Fu. The film then turns into a series of training sessions, then marital fights…
The sensitive aspect of the subject raised several staging questions. The use of martial arts has been motivated for two main reasons. First, the director wanted to expose domestic violence which the spectator could be confronted with without having to look away, despite the harshness of the subject. Second, he wished through the character of Zohra provide a model to his 8-year-old daughter:
I find that there is a dire lack of films that could speak to her (her daughter) without necessarily being a Disney or a Marvel. 8 years old is the age I was when I discovered Rocky. I wanted my daughter to have her Rocky.
A personal story inspired by real events
Already accustomed to films around the fight after Virgil and JCVDthe director wanted to return to a story more intimate. In fact, after filming No Exit where he directed Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis or even Sigourney Weaver, he got closer to his own experience. Kung Fu Zohra is therefore inspired – as mentioned in the press kit – by its family situation. He indeed used the story of his parents, and in particular his mother, as a narrative basis :
When I say that the film tells the story of my mother, it is rather a starting point, a proposal where the cinema would allow me to tell the story of my parents that I would have preferred to tell my children. .
Although the director detaches himself from the desire to “send a message”, Kung Fu Zohra carries within it feminist motivations which make it its originality and its strength. the your comic of the film makes it accessible, while allowing it to approach a societal problem with more lightness. The latter, created by the distance between the reality of the theme and its fictional representation, also offers us a superhero protagonistsource of admiration and contemporary model…
Despite everything, the film perceived a mixed reception when it was released at the cinema. In addition to a disappointing box office, the film is accused of conveying clichés about the Maghreb community…