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In Morocco, as in all Muslim countries, sex outside marriage is illegal. Single mothers are despised, but what is the fate of their children? They are outcasts, condemned to a life of discrimination. Bastards is the first film to tell this story from a mother’s point of view. We follow Rabha El Haimer through the courts to legalize her forced marriage, to register her daughter and to make the father accept his child.
Deborah Perkin captures real life courtroom drama, played out in the first Muslim country in the world to recognize that single mothers and illegitimate children have human rights.


  • BBC RADIO 5 LIVE, Mark Kermode
    "The story itself is so strong, and told with such clean firm strokes, done in a way that absolutely puts the thing together in a way which is riveting, so you start following the story and it becomes, I have to say, I think more tense, more gripping than many mainstream films out there in cinemas at the moment."
    “Deserves to be seen widely”
    4 stars - "Extraordinarily intimate and moving"
    4 stars: "Revealing, unique, humorous and brave"
  • MAIL ON SUNDAY, Jason Solomons
    “Stirring, emotive stuff ... told in a rawly effective way”
    "A shocking, stereotype-busting documentary ...heart-pummelling stuff"
    “Shocking... an impassioned, fly-on-the-wall look at a serious social issue”
    "The language of God and morality is used to appeal to witnesses and authorities in place of the stiff & terms we’re familiar with in equivalent UK settings. Perkin works in a similar way, appealing to core emotions."
    "Incisive documentary that burns brightly"
  • THE GUARDIAN, Peter Bradshaw
    "A keenly thought-through, sensitively-excuted, dramatically involving debut... genuinely refreshing to see a story of female empowerment from the Islamic world"

Festival Participation

  • Women’s Freedom Center Film Festival – Vermont US - 2015
  • Arab Women’s Film Festival – The Hague, Netherlands - 2015
  • Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival – Ankara, Turkey - 2015
  • Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival – Ankara, Turkey - 2015
  • World Festival of Extreme Cinema – Veracruz, Mexico - 2015
  • Afghanistan International Women’s Film Festival, Afghanistan - 2015
  • Transatlantyk Festival, Poland - 2014
  • Kazan International Festival of Muslim Cinema - Republic of Tatarstan - 2014
  • Prvi Kadar Festival, Bosnia Herzegovina - 2014
  • Nile's Diaspora International Film Festival, Uganda - 2014
  • Overlook CinemAvvenire Film Festival, Italy - 2014
  • United Nations Association Film Festival, USA - 2014
  • ALBA Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, USA - 2014
  • Birds Eye View Film Festival, United Kingdom - 2014
  • Fimucite Festival International de Musica de Cine de Tenerife, Spain - 2014
  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival, India - 2014
  • Manaki Brothers Festival, Greece - 2014
  • Afghanistan Women’s Film Festival, Afghanistan - 2014
  • Bird's Eye View Festival, UK - 2014
  • Fidadoc International Documentary Festival, Morocco (Opening Film) - 2014
  • New York African Film Festival, USA - 2014
  • Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece - 2014

Additional Materials

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