TANGIER – The twentieth edition of the Tangier National Film Festival kicked off Friday with legendary Moroccan filmmaker Mustapha Derkaoui’s “De quelques évènements sans signification” (From some insignificant events) that was censored ahead of its launch in Morocco in 1974 during late king Hassan II’s rule.
45 years later, the film, which was restored in Spain, was screened at the 69th Berlinale.
Musicians, journalists and painters took part in the film that depicts a group of young filmmakers who interview the Moroccan public in Casablanca’s streets, bars and port about making a film that meets their aspirations. However, a murder in the bar forced them to focus on the murderer’s motives.
The film tackles bribery, unemployment and social hardship, highlighting the “Years of Lead” period that was marked by a crackdown on dissidents and freedom of speech.
Actress Zhor Slimani was honoured during the opening of the festival for her lifetime achievements in the cinema industry.
Filmmaker Driss Zoughi praised Slimani’s acting and theatrical career before handing her the award.
“She gave a lot to the theatre, cinema and television with modesty,” said Zoughi.
Slimani, who is convalescing from a surgery, said that she hoped “to overcome this difficult period” and come back to the scene.
The festival is organised by the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre March 1-9 in the Northern city of Tangier.
Fifteen feature films which have been selected in the competition are: Talal Selhami’s “Achoura, la nuit des enfants” (Achoura, children’s night)”, Abdelilah El Jaouhary’s “Hala Madrid visca Barca”, Selma Bargach’s “Indigo”, Yassine Marco Marrocu’s “Jamal Afina”, Mohamed Zineddaine’s “La guérisseuse” (The Healer), Hind Bensari’s “Lancer ce poids” (Throwing this weight), Saad Chrabi’s “Les 3M, Histoire inachevée”(The 3M, Incomplete history), Mohamed Lyounsi’s “Les coups du destin”(Fate blows), Hamid Zoughi’s “Les saisons de la soif” (The Seasons of thirst), “ Kamal Eddine Benabid’s “Nadira”, “ Meryem Benm'barek’s “Sofia”, Jilali Ferhati’s “Ultime révolte”(Ultimate Revolt), Abdefattah Arrom’s “Une année chez les francais”(A year with the French), Mohcine Besri’s “Une urgence ordinaire” (Ordinary emergency) and Majid Lahcen’s “Vie côtoyant la mort” (Life on the death side).
Fifteen films have also been selected for the short film competition: “Angoisse” (Anxiety) by Ali Benjelloun, “ Candidats au suicide” (Candidates to the suicide) by Hamza Atifi, “Flashback” of Lakhdar El Hamdaoui, “The cell” by Rabii El Jawhari, “La route” (The road) by Mohamed Oumai, “ Le chant du cygne” (Swan Song) by Yazid El Kadiri, “Le foulard” (The Scarf) by Chaquir Achahbar, “Les enfants des sables” (Children of the Sands) by El Ghali Graimiche, “MKS 86” by Driss Roukhe, “Sang blanc” (White Blood) by Rafiq Boubker , “Sophisma” by Abdou El Mesnaoui, “Une date” (A Date) by Rachid Zaki, “Vie d'une princesse” (Life of a Princess) by Faical Hlimi, “Waraq” by Abdelkabir Rgaguena and “Yasmina” by Ali Esmili and Claire Cahen.
Filmmakers Farida Benlyazid and Ahmed Boulane will preside the jury for feature film competition and short film one respectively.
Last year, the film “Volubilis” by Faouzi Bensaidi won the Grand Prix in the category of feature films. As for the category short film, the Grand Prix was awarded to “The crows” by Madane El Ghazouani.