Moroccan filmmaker Faouzi Bensaidi’s “Deserts” has secured a spot in the official competition for feature films at the 45th Cairo International Film Festival. This prestigious event is scheduled to take place from November 15th to the 24th of this year.
Produced by Saïd Himmich Belarbi, “Deserts” is a 128-minute feature film that brings together talented actors Fahd Benchemssi, Abdelhadi Talbi, and Hajar Graigaa.
The storyline revolves around the lives of two friends, Mehdi and Hamid, who are employed by a debt collection agency in the bustling city of Casablanca. Their journey takes an unexpected turn when they are assigned to collect debts in remote villages located in the southern regions of Morocco.
“Deserts” marks the fifth venture into feature films for Faouzi Bensaidi, following his earlier successes with “Volubilis” (2017), “Death for Sale” (2011), “What a Wonderful World” (2006), and “A Thousand Months” (2003).
Bensaidi’s impressive portfolio extends to include a collection of short films, with “The Cliff” (1997) being one of the most celebrated. This short film achieved remarkable success, winning 23 awards across various national and international film festivals. In 2000, Bensaidi’s “The Wall” earned recognition at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and “Trajectories” received accolades at the Venice Film Festival.
Apart from the Moroccan entry, three other Arab feature films are set to compete in the official competition of the festival, under the distinguished leadership of Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, who presides over the festival’s jury.
Morocco’s presence at the Cairo International Film Festival goes beyond “Deserts.” The country is also taking part in the “Perspectives of Arab Cinema” competition with the film “Marrokia harra,” directed by Hicham Lasri.