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Dolls: a Woman from Damascus

Rating: ★★★¾☆ 

Fulla is the Middle Eastern version of Barbie. Fulla is “loving, caring, she is part of the community. ” Fulla is made to reflect the customers she’s been addressed to. She respects her parents. She prays. She takes care of others.

At the same her breasts have been made smaller, because customers requested it. Her undergarments are part of her body, so they cannot be taken off. Fulla is a modern doll, inspired from a liberal society and transformed into the reflection of a conservative one. The film challenges this assumption and questions whether this modern doll really reflects modern young arab women.

Parallel to the Fulla ads and the talk with a Fulla spokesperson, the camera follows Manal in her daily life. Manal always listened to her parents, she took sewing classes, she takes care of the family and everyone around. At the same time she is a woman with her own ambitions, she finds meaning in doing something for society, she likes to mingle with people, she needs to have a say in life. She used to work but after she got children she stayed at home. Now that the children are older, she wants to get back to being a part of society not only as a mother. She wants to find work but the process is slow, difficult and no one around her is really supportive.

Fulla and Manal seem one the reflection of the other, but they differ in an essential matter: Fulla would never want to work, she doesn’t need to, she finds fulfillment in giving herself up for the others. And this is something Manal cannot do.
Click the photo to watch the full film.

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