Morocco

Lois Patiño – Fajr (2017)

Quote:
In the Moroccan desert night dilutes forms and silence slides through sand. Dawn starts then to draw silhouettes of dunes while motionless figures punctuate landscape. From night´s abstraction, light returns its dimension to space and their volume to bodies. Stillness concentrates gaze and duration densify it. The adhan -muslim call to pray- sounds and immobility, that was condensing, begins to irradiate. And now the bodies are those which dissolves into the desert. Read More »

Ahmed El Maanouni – Trances (1981)

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Quote:
It was in 1981 while I was editing a film, The King of Comedy. We worked at night so no one would call us on the telephone and I would have television on, and one channel in New York at the time, around 2 or 3 in the morning, was showing a film called Transes. It repeated all night and it repeated many nights. And it had commercials in it, but it didn’t matter. So I became passionate about this music that I heard and I saw also the way the film was made, the concert that was photographed and the effect of the music on the audience at the concert. I tracked down the music and eventually it became my inspiration for many of the designs and construction of my film The Last Temptation of Christ. […] And I think the group was singing damnation: their people, their beliefs, their sufferings and their prayers all came through their singing. And I think the film is beautifully made by Ahmed El Maanouni; it’s been an obsession of mine since 1981 and that is why we are inaugurating the Foundation with Trances. (Martin Scorsese, May 2007) Read More »

Oliver Laxe – Mimosas (2016)

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Mimosas (original title: Mimosas) is a 2016 drama film directed and co-written by Oliver Laxe, described by Laxe as ‘a Religious Western’. The film is a co-production between Spain, Morocco, France and Qatar. It was screened in the International Critics’ Week section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Nespresso Grand Prize. Read More »

Nacer Khemir – Tawk al Hamama al Mafkoud AKA Le collier perdu de la colombe AKA The Dove’s Lost Necklace (1991)

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Synopsis:
The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love. Read More »

Nacer Khemir – Les baliseurs du desert AKA The Wanderers (1986)

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Synopsis:
A teacher is assigned to a remote desert village that is obsessed with a mysterious buried treasure and whose children are cursed to wander the desert. Read More »

Moumen Smihi – Chroniques marocaines AKA Moroccan Chronicles (1999)

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In Moroccan Chronicles, set in the ancient city of Fez, a working class mother, abandoned by her husband who has emigrated to Europe, tells three tales to her just-circumcised ten-year-old son. In the first, Smihi re-stages the Marrakech market scene from Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which a monkey trainer makes children dance for tourists. In the second, two lovers meet on the ramparts of Orson Welles’s Essaouira locations for Othello and speak of their own forbidden love. And in the third, set in Smihi’s home town of Tangier, an old sailor dreams of vanquishing a sea monster: the Gibraltar ferry that connects Europe to Africa. Read More »

Leila Kilani – Sur la planche AKA On the Edge (2011)

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Quote:
In 1954, William Burroughs wrote that “Tangier is a vast overstocked market, everything for sale and no buyers.” Half a century later, circumstances in the city may have changed, but that same sentiment finds itself modulated by a cab driver as he tosses a portentous glance to Badia (Soufia Issami) and tells her that “Tangier only gives to foreigners.” The protagonist of Moroccan writer-director Leila Kilani’s On the Edge, Badia is a young woman who’s moved from Casablanca to Tangier to make a living. Hoping one day to land a job in the more prestigious factories of the city’s Free Zone, we see her at work in a less glamorous shrimp processing facility, where the sterile whitespace is marred by the orangish slime and grime of piles of shrimp shells. That kind of grime permeates the film and the dingy, noirish urban environments that Badia wends her way through. Read More »