Unrewarded gems at the Tangier Film Festival

Mohamed El Aboudi’s documentary Dance of Outlaws shines in Tangier

Events and Festivals, Industry, Morocco

Unrewarded gems at the Tangier Film Festival

Beyond Noureddine Lakhmari’s award-winning Zero, the last edition of Morocco’s Tangier Film Festival stirred debate on the quality of the films that were screened and those that received awards.

The jury forgot at least three films that were either great in form or experimented with new aesthetic forms. These works sometimes inhabited the border between documentary and fiction, seeking inspiration from the poetic realism of family films, such as in the case of Brahim Fritah’s autobiographical feature Playground Chronicles, Kamal Mahouti’s My Brother, which raised the issue of image ethics, narration, and the complexity of reality, as did Mohamed El Aboudi’s documentary Dance of Outlaws.

The latter, a Finland-based Moroccan director, has made a surprising documentary that views more as a narrative film, so surprising are its characters, notably Hind, a young Moroccan who was raped aged 14, deprived of an identity card, and who is a dancer and a prostitute. The 22-year-old young woman, who lives on the margins of Moroccan society, is bubbly, beautiful, childish and terrifyingly naïve, and rarely overcome by her dead-end situation.

She wants to marry her boyfriend who is in prison, and she wants a “normal” job… The vicious circle that she is plunged in, as the mother of children she cannot recognise without an identity card, herself living illegally, wisely highlights the violence of a society in which "dishonour" and poverty justify marginalising individuals and erasing their identity.

It's a dark look at a complex society that creates a great divide between social classes, a violent Morocco caught between tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, where women have trouble imposing themselves as "subjects".

It's a similar view to that of the filmmakers who made fictions Zero and Malak


Antonia Naim


Photo : Mon frère by Kamal Mahouti, Dubaï Film Festival

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