Morocco signs a remarkable participation in the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which opens this Tuesday, with for the first time a representative of the Moroccan 7th art in the jury of the official competition of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, two feature films in the “Un certain regard” section of the official selection and a third film selected in the “Quinzaine des cinéastes”.
This year, the organizers of this world cinematographic high mass have chosen the Moroccan director, Maryam Touzani, to join the jury of the official competition, alongside great figures of world cinema, a first for Morocco.
Maryam Touzani, who is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival, after the participation of her first feature film “Adam”, was selected in 2019 in the “Un Certain Regard” section. In 2021, she reunited with Nabil Ayouch, with whom she co-wrote Razzia, in which she also acted, and Haut et Fort, selected in Competition.
The Moroccan director returned to Cannes the following year with the “very acclaimed” “Le Bleu du Caftan”, presented at “Un Certain Regard” and shortlisted for the Oscars.
She thus becomes the first Moroccan in history to join the jury of the prestigious festival, chaired this year by the double Palme d’Or director, Ruben Östlund (Sweden), in what represents a strong recognition and a real event for the cinema. Moroccan.
The Moroccan will have for mission, alongside the actor Denis Ménochet, the actress Brie Larson, the director Julia Ducournau, the actor Paul Dano, the director Rungano Nyoni, the writer Atiq Rahimi, and the director Damián Szifron, to decide between 21 productions, in particular by Ken Loach, Wim Wenders, Marco Bellocchio, Nanni Moretti, Wes Anderson, Aki Kaurismäki, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Nuri Bilge Ceylan or even Todd Haynes.
Moroccan cinema is also represented during this edition by the feature films “Kadib Abyad” (The mother of all lies) by director Asmae El Moudir and “Les Meutes” by Kamal Lazraq, both selected in the category “Un certain regard” from the official selection, alongside 15 other productions.
“Les Meutes”, which was awarded for the screenplay as part of the Gan Foundation’s 2021 Creation Prize, tells the story of Hassan and Issam, father and son, who try to survive from day to day, chaining the little ones trafficking for the local underworld in the popular suburbs of Casablanca. One night, a man they were supposed to kidnap accidentally dies in their car. Hassan and Issam find themselves with a corpse to make disappear. Then begins a long night through the slums of the city.
In “Kadib Abyad”, Asmae, a young Moroccan director, goes to her parents’ home in Casablanca to help them move. Once in her childhood home, she begins to sort through her old things. Suddenly, Asmae comes across a photo: children smiling in the courtyard of a kindergarten. Almost out of frame, there is a little girl sitting on a bench, looking shyly at the camera. This photo is the only image of his childhood, the only memory that his mother was able to pass on to him. But Asmae is convinced that she is not the child in this image. In order to get her parents talking, Asmae introduces her camera and plays with this intimate incident to evoke other memories, which she doesn’t believe either. This photo becomes the starting point of an investigation during which the director questions all the little lies told to her by her family. Little by little, Asmae explores the memory of her neighborhood and her country.
In addition, the feature film “Deserts” by director Faouzi Bensaïdi is in the 55th selection of the “Quinzaine des cinéastes” of the Cannes Film Festival.
“Deserts” (128min), selected alongside 19 other films, tells the story of Mehdi and Hamid, close friends who work for a collection agency, travel together in southern Morocco using their old car and sharing double rooms in uncomfortable hotels.