Raja Amari`s first feature length film SATIN ROUGE is a meditation on the transformative powers of self-expression. Lilia (Hiam Abbass) is a widowed Tunisian housewife, tired of living in the shadow of others. She follows her daughter Salma (Hend El Fahem), and discovers she is having a secret liaison with a cabaret musician who works in the forbidden belly dance cabaret down the street. After watching the hypnotic shifting of hips and the euphoria of the crowds, Lilia is herself overcome with the urge to dance. From then on, nothing is the same, and nothing is out of the question, not even sharing her daughter`s boyfriend. SATIN ROUGE is a remarkable first feature for writer-director Raja Amari. Her directorial eye is casual, open, and mellow, which tends to naturally dispel preconceived ideas about Arab culture in general and cinema in particular. Actor Hiam Abbass adeptly transforms her Lilia from a tight-lipped matron with her hair tied back in a severe bun to a radiant and joyous career woman. The film is left open-ended, a portent that Lilia`s growth as a woman may be a rugged journey. Though not a classically happy ending, the message offered in Amari`s SATIN ROUGE is ultimately uplifting and heartening.