Based on true events that took place in Turkey, The Source tells the story of Leila, a young Muslim wife who is dissatisfied with the treatment of women in her village. In her community, women have always fetched water from a mountain-top spring in the blazing heat of the sun. On this dangerous trek, many have sustained serious injuries. Some who were pregnant have lost their unborn children as a result of slipping on the steep paths. Leila urges the women of the village to rise up and refuse to continue fetching the water in the form of a love strike, abstaining from sex until the men bring water to the village.
In many cultures today, women are still bound by traditions in rigid patriarchal communities and are unable to break from this bondage. Leila voices the opinions that many of the women are scared to bring forward to their male counterparts. However, her act of boldness does more harm than good as one of her neighbours becomes a victim of abuse as a result of the love strike.
To some degree, the women are shielded by Mother Rifle, an elderly widow and the only woman in the village with full autonomy over her life. Her experiences with many of life’s hard knocks have given her great wisdom to impart to the younger generation: wisdom that pierces through listeners like bullets.
One taboo the film touches on is a woman’s right to read the Koran. Leila points out that the Islamic holy book states that a human being’s duty is to elevate himself through knowledge, which includes women. She questions the Imam, asking him who is helping women to elevate themselves by learning. Leila’s intelligence is shown through her boldness, which she says annoys the men. Her own ability to read is down to her husband Sami, a school teacher.
Teetering on comedy and tragedy, director Radu Milhaileanu explains that it is a reflection of the lives of the women he met in Turkish villages when conducting his research. He says that he came to realise that despite the abuse they suffered they were capable of scathing humour.
The film is beautifully shot in picturesque landscapes. Intense lighting, bordering on over-exposure, gives the film a boldness which accompanies the subject matter. The Source is a thought-provoking and educational film about love and the issue of equality in the Arab-Muslim world.
The Source will screen in UK cinemas on 18th May.
View The Source trailer here