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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Laïla Marrakchi – Marock (2005)

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Marock is the 2005 Moroccan film by the female Muslim director Laila Marrakchi. The movie was very controversial as it deals with a Muslim/Jewish love between two high school mates, Rita and Youri. The film was 2006’s most successful film in Morocco, scoring more than 3 million dirhams at the Moroccan box-office, according to TelQuel.
The film was shown in Moroccan cinemas without being edited or censored.[citation needed] The title Marock is a play on words based on the French name of Morocco Maroc and Rock as in Rock’n Roll.

The universal language of youthful rebellion takes center stage in director Laïla Marrakchi’s tale of a Moroccan Muslim teen who falls for a handsome and progressive-minded Jewish boy. High school is drawing to a close for 17-year-old Rita (Morjana Alaoui) and her carefree friends, and as the footloose girls pound the pavement of Casablanca’s Anfa district, it seems that their summer of fun is already well under way. When Rita meets fun-loving Youri (Matthieu Boujenah) and the pair hit it off, her liberal Muslim family’s open-minds soon begin to close when they discover that their daughter’s new boyfriend is Jewish. Continue reading

Faouzi Bensaïdi – Mille mois aka A thousand months (2003)

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Review :
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A Thousand Months, the first full-length feature from Moroccan writer-director Faouzi Bensaïdi, sets out as if to offer us a winsome child’s-eye view of life in an Atlas mountains village in the early 1980s, as seven-year-old Mehdi (Fouad Labied) wonderingly observes the new moon that marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan. But the film soon develops into something more complex – more like a vivid North African reworking of Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. Of the various interlocking characters and events that make up the plot, several impinge only marginally on Mehdi. This tactic is a deliberate attempt to subvert our expectations. “I like to lure the audience along a path that seems to be marked out and reassuring,” Bensaïdi says, “only to make them lose it instantly. The centre keeps shifting and what seems to be the margin becomes the magnet that attracts all the rest to it, only to disappear and be replaced by other peripheral elements.” Continue reading