Marrakech Mon Amour
Review of the 13th Annual Festival International du Film de Marrakech 2014
This festival is the best response to all obscurantisms. It’s an exception in a part of the world where hatred of the other reigns. Pace its critics whose only horizon is their gloomy and shameful navel-gazing. To discourage the festival’s momentum, full of the promise of tolerance and of hope, is to not love this country. I am proud to be Moroccan today when the world is invited here in Marrakech. With all my heart, I wish the FIFM a long life!
- Moroccan filmmaker Narjiss Nejjar -
It’s well known that Morocco boasts a cornucopia of film festivals. One critic calls the kingdom the emerging country with the greatest development in this sector.  In this abundance, one film festival stands apart: the Festival International du Film de Marrakech (FIFM)whose 13th edition was held in the ochre city from November 29th – December 7th, 2013. The festival was born several years earlier during a meeting between the flamboyant French film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Gérard Depardieu, King Hassan II, himself an ardent cinephile, and the king’s advisor, André Azoulay. Its first edition occurred in September 2001 under the reign of the new king, Mohammed VI, as an “act of faith in the dialogue possible between East and West.” 
After Toscan’s unexpected demise in 2003, his widow Melita took over; she is seconded by both artistic director Bruno Barde and by Nour-Eddine Saïl, Vice-President of the FIFM Foundation and Director of the Centre Cinématographique Marocain. The FIFM Foundation is presided by the King’s brother, Prince Moulay Rachid. Sponsored under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, the FIFM benefits from a generous budget of 8 million Euros. The FIFM is one of two flaghship festivals organized by the French company Public système (the other is the Festival du cinema américain de Deauville in September).
In a recent interview, Nour-Eddine Saïl discussed the FIFM’s founding and where it is today:
"When it was born, thirteen years ago in the wake of 9/11, the mere existence—let alone the durability—of a big international festival in Marrakech was at best a dream. Today, the festival exists and it’s become an event of major proportions that has assured its stability. Of course, nobody was waiting for us. Our competitors are not just Cannes, which is more than 60 years old, but also Venice, the doyenne of the international festivals, and then Berlin. But there’s also Toronto in Canada, Busan in Korea and still others in Italy, Spain, or elsewhere. Our goal was not simply to imitate but to invent a major film festival. A festival founded—and this is an essential point—on an outstanding selection, with some rare films, even if it’s very difficult to make discoveries when you arrive, at the end of the year, after all these major festivals!" 
If the festival is largely sans avant premières, as Saïl notes, it nevertheless has occasionally debuted films that went on to make it big, most notably Alexander Payne’s Sideways (2004), which subsequently became a world-wide hit and won an Oscar. The FIFM seems also to have stimulated film festival activity in the rest of the Arab world: one year after its founding, Dubai launched its own festival, the oldest in the Gulf region.
Photo Credit: S. Shafto
What the FIFM does boast is star power in spades, many of whom return year after year. The FIFM has succeeded in positioning itself as a kind of mini-Cannes in North Africa where Moroccan film personalities rub shoulders on the red carpet alongside international stars. Critic Yannick Vély from Paris Match confided that “few festivals can pull in as many stars.” Sharon Stone flew in this year for 24 hours to receive a special award given to her by Martin Scorsese. During the ceremony, she affirmed how honored she was to receive the award at this historic time [in the Arab world]; Juliette Binoche whose performance as Camille Claudel in the film by Bruno Dumont was, for me, one of the festival’s high points, received a similar award. During her award ceremony, Binoche revealed a little known fact about her family: Morocco, she told us, is particularly dear to her because her grandfather and father lived in Tiznit and in Agadir for fifteen years and her grandfather is buried here.
Here is a list, non-exhaustive, of additional personalities on hand this year: Deepika Padukone, Yousra, Harvey Weinstein, Lambert Wilson (my former neighbor on the Boulevard Saint-Michel), Charlotte Rampling, Abel Ferrara, Fernando Solanas, Benoît Magimel, Terry Gilliam, Elsa Zilberstein, François Cluzet, Jamel Debbouze, Elia Souleiman, Edgar Morin (with whom I chatted about Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero), and Régis Debray.
To those who criticize the festival’s bling bling element, Saïl, with his usual gift for repartee, responds: “In the word ‘festival’ is ‘festive’” (both words derive from the Latin festivus or festus for “happy.”)  And to those who say that the red carpet and the after-hours parties occupy a preponderant place in the FIFM, all one needs to do is look at its programming for proof of its seriousness. To each, his own festival! Besides the fifteen films in competition this year, the festival included a homage to Scandinavian film, five individual homages (Juliette Binoche, the Moroccan actor Mohamed Khouyi; the Japanese director, Kore-Eda Hirokazu; the Argentine director Fernando Solanas; Sharon Stone), and four master-classes (Bruno Dumont, James Gray, Nicolas Winding Refn, Régis Debray; regrettably, Abbas Kiarostami who was also expected canceled.)
Photo Credit: S. Shafto
The homage paid to Scandinavian cinema was exceptional. In his tribute, Martin Scorsese declared Nordic cinema one of filmmaking’s richest veins with its five different countries and five different languages, but nonetheless all invested in the language of film. Scorsese noted that without filmmaking greats like Victor Sjöstrom and Carl Theodore Dreyer, filmmaking wouldn’t be the same today. He added that Dreyer’s Ordet “is one of the most powerful films ever made” and called Ingmar Bergman “a beacon who showed ideas, sensations and emotions.” (In the Norwegian entries, I only regret that Peter Watkins’ magisterial Edvard Munch, 1974, was not included. A Nordic co-production with an entirely Norwegian cast, it certainly merited inclusion, as one of the best films ever made about an artist, even if its director is an Englishman.)
After the opening red carpet, the festival began in earnest the next day with a press conference with the members of the august 10-person jury, headed this year by Martin Scorsese. As someone who has devoted his life not only to making films but also to preserving them, Scorsese was an inspired choice for president. In addition, Scorsese has a personal history with Morocco where he’s been coming since 1983. While editing The King of Comedy in the early 1980s, he saw, on late-night television, the Moroccan documentary about the musical group Nass El Ghiwane, El Hal (Trances, 1981). So taken was he with the film that he subsequently shot two films—“close to his heart”—in Morocco: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997). And recently he inaugurated his World Cinema Fund with a restoration of Ahmed El Maânouni’s Trances (now available on DVD from Criterion). 
During the press conference, one journalist asked Scorsese what would be the jury’s yardstick for judging the in-competition films. His response is worth quoting:
I respond to a film in the language of cinema. A new voice, a new vision is what I respond to most. I respond to being inspired by new talent. [Today we are surrounded by a] proliferation of images; communication is happening more and more by images. But do they mean anything?
The young South Korean filmmaker, Lee Su-Jin won this year’s Etoile d’Or at Marrakech; his remarkable first film, Han Gong-Ju, about a high school student who tries to put her life back together after having been gang-raped, carries with it the promise of such a new voice. In the past four or five years the FIFM has specialized in showing novice filmmakers with their first or second feature. Scorsese also noted that exposing younger generations to earlier cinemas from which they may draw inspiration should be an imperative.
On the jury, Scorsese was joined by actresses Patricia Clarkson Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, and the luminous Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani who lives in Paris. The jury’s ranks were filled out by several well-respected filmmakers: Paolo Sorrentino whose last film The Great Beauty is one of the hits of 2013, the South Korean Park Chan Wook whose Old Boy won a special Jury Prize at Cannes, Fatih Atkin; the young Mexican director Amat Escalante, the Indian director Anurag Kashyap, and the Moroccan filmmaker Narjiss Nejjar whose first film, Les Yeux Secs, was included in the 2003 Quinzaine at Cannes.
Martin Scorsese between Golshifteh Farahani and Narjiss Nejjar
Golshifteh Farahani, the first Iranian actress to work in Hollywood, first came to Morocco seven years ago to film Body of Lies with Ridley Scott. Atkin noted that he’s ever eager to escape from the German-Turkish trap because that’s where everyone expects him to go Instead, he wants to make genre films, a Western (I hope the CCM has invited him to Ouarzazate!), while Narjiss Nejjar, borrowing from the Gallic rhetoric on French cultural exceptionalism, rightly called her country an “exception culturelle” in the current Arab world.
One of the first films in this year’s line-up was Roberto Ando’s Viva la libertà that I much enjoyed. It’s the story of a left-wing Italian politician who, at a crucial moment for his party, undergoes a moral crisis and skips town to renew contact with an old flame (Valeria Tedeschi-Bruni) who works as a script supervisor in France. To save face, the politician’s aide claims he is recovering at home from an illness. The day is saved by the appearance of his identical brother (also played by Toni Servilio), a brilliant philosopher who suffers from bipolar depression and who draws inspiration from Félix Guatteri’s ideas on the insights of those considered mad. The psychiatrist fills in for his brother who creates an immediate sensation with his gift for catchy phrases that uplift an otherwise demoralized Italian people, echoing in one instance Franklin D. Rooselvelt (“Italians must be freed from their fear.”/”The only thing to fear is fear itself.”) The film seems to be addressed to a timorous European left that is afraid to be bold. Viva la libertà fits into the genre of recent Italian films about those in power, echoing not least of all Nanni Moretti’s magnum opus Habemus papam (2011) about a pope who similarly runs away from his duties after his election, but also Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo (2008) about the Machiavellian, long-lived Giulo Andreotti (1919-2013), and Marco Bellocchio’s probing, magisterial inquiry into the early life of Benito Mussolini, Vincere (2009).
It was a treat to see Fernando Solanas’ best known film, Tangos, the Exile of Gardel (1985) that recounts the dolorous exile of Argentine artists living in the French capital (but mostly starring French actors. I note in passing that I had forgotten how beautiful is Marina Vlady’s voice. . . ) Here in Morocco the film surely evokes memories of the country’s Leaden Years under Hassan II.
One of the critics I spoke with during the festival is the Beirut-born Mohamed Rouda who worked for years as a freelance film critic in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in London and writes in Arabic for the journal Asharq Al-Awsat (Middle East). I am looking to reviewing his forthcoming book on film production in Arab countries entitled, Made in Arabia (publ. Dubai Film Festival) that considers why filmmaking has succeeded in some Arab countries and not in others. Rouda observed that fiction filmmakers are better handling current events in Egypt than their confrères in documentary. At the start of this year’s Oscar season five Arab countries were, for the first time, in the running for an Oscar: the Palestinian Omar, the Egyptian Winter of Discontent, the Lebanese Blind Intersections by Lara Saba, the Saudi film,Wadjda by Haifaa Al-Mansour and the Moroccan Horses of God by Nabil Ayouch.
One film I found disappointing was Nabil Ben Yadir’s well-intentioned La Marche that commemorates the 30th anniversary of the historic march, “la Marche des beurs,” in the autumn of 1983 of a group of maghrebins from an explosive Marseille housing project, Les Minguettes, who walked from Marseille to Paris where they were received by President François Mitterrand. Their march across France was triggered by several incidents of terrible violence against several individuals of Maghrebin origin. Curiously, this historic march for equality was not commemorated in France and in that sense, the film certainly plays a useful role. Nor can it be said that discrimination has been eradicated against those of Maghrebin origin, as a recent article in Le Monde attests. 
Nevertheless, the film’s transformation of that historic march into a call for equal rights for other marginalized groups is no more than a saccharine re-writing of history. In addition, on the level of screenplay, each of the characters is too closely identified with a tic: Lubna Azabal chain-smokes in every scene, Hafsia Herzi is inseparable from her non-Maghrebin boyfriend, the fat boy compulsively eats in every scene etc. etc.  These aren’t real flesh and blood characters, but just cardboard cut-outs to convey the film’s political message. One of the film’s co-producers, Julien Dray, a co-founder of SOS Racisme in France, describes La March’s “mythological vision of history” and deems it a “disagreeable attempt at recuperation, above all when it tries to rewrite History in a communautarisation of a battle that, at the time, was instead a fight for the equal rights.” 
Serge Daney believed you could dissect a film on one well-chosen detail: for example, he constructed his scathing critique of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Lover (1992) on a simple turn of a foot. For this reviewer, the intentions (and ultimate failure) of La Marche are summarized by the inclusion on the soundtrack of the American popular song from 1965, “California Dreamin.” That the Mamas & the Papas song has no direct relevance to the film is clearly beside the point to the filmmaker: it’s there, as audio-filler, to move us into a feel-good space so that we won’t questions its politics too much.
Didier Michon as Benjamin in Fevers
This year, for the first time, two Moroccan films were included in the competition: Hicham Ayouch’s Fevers and Sean Gullette’s debut feature as director, the Moroccan-American Traitors. I’m a fan of Traitors, which I’ve written about elsewhere and am looking forward to director’s follow-up film with Kristen Scott Thomas.  Hicham Ayouch, Nabil’s younger brother, will be remembered for his incendiaryménage à trois entitled Fissures (2010) and for his powerful “As They Say” (2012).  While Fissures and “As They Say” are both set in northern Morocco, his new feature takes place in a housing project outside of Paris. (Ayouch himself spent the first part of his life in the town of Sarcelles, with a large population of Maghrebin origin, not far from Paris.) It tells the story of a forty-something man who learns unexpectedly that he has a son, the fruit of his relationship with a prostitute now serving time in jail. The thirteen-year-old Benjamin has spent his life so far in foster-care homes and is more than a little sauvage. His seriously depressed and disillusioned father lives with his own parents; when the boy enters into the household, he quickly disrupts everything and everyone. . . Nothing has grace in Benjamin’s eyes. The two leads, Didier Michon and Slimane Dazi (as well as the grandparents), are excellent and were awarded, in ex aequo, best male performance. But why the title in the plural? As far as I can tell, the film’s fever belongs to Benjamin and just when we think his fever has finally been brought down, he commits an act of madness, as a kind of avenging angel. Surely one of the hardest decisions facing a filmmaker is to know when to cut: for this spectator at least, the last 15 minutes of Fevers are not just superfluous, they ruin the film’s overall form. The filmmaker himself has said that the story revolves around the relationship of four characters, the father and son, with the grandparents . . . . Hence my confusion in the film’s dénouement where three peripheral characters (the father’s handicapped brother; a philosopher poet who lives en plein air and keeps Euro bills in a toilet; and a friend of the father’s who suddenly comes out of the closet) take center-stage. Often an artist is better served by not trying to pack everything all in. Does not the plural title encompass Ayouch’s own burning, if not yet completely controlled, desires?
I’ve already said that Bruno Dumont’s Camille Claudel 1915 was one of the outstanding films included this year. Dumont, a former philosophy professor, is someone who pays attention not just to the story he’s telling, but also to its form. Filmed with a steady camera and similar framings, Camille Claudel 1915 recounts a few days in the unfortunate life of the artist, Camille Claudel, as she anxiously awaits a visit from her famous brother, the poet Paul Claudel. Isolated in an asylum outside of Avignon, she wants desperately to return to Paris, to be near family and friends. The film is both simple and exquisitely executed. There’s a shot of a tree that has stayed with me; the film’s overall bluish-gray tint is beautiful and Binoche in the lead role is profoundly moving. Is the film’s j’accuse against Paul Claudel’s treatment of his sister accurate? I don’t know, but the closing title card informs us that when Camille Claudel died in 1943, her brother couldn’t be bothered to give her a proper funeral and her corpse was tossed into a mass grave.
If Bruno Dumont is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today, then Joaquin Phoenix is one of the most important actors of his generation.  In James Gray’s new film The Immigrant, Phoenix again demonstrates the range of which he is capable. It’s the story of two Polish young women who arrive on Ellis Island in 1921, in the hope of starting a better life for themselves in America. Unfortunately, one of the sisters is tubercular and is forced to stay on the island’s hospital, while the fate reserved for her sibling, Ewa (played by Marion Cotillard) is perhaps even worse. Unbeknownst to her, she’s been hand-picked by the local pimp, Bruno (played by Phoenix) who while lusting after her nevertheless puts her to work with his other girls, whom he calls “his little doves.” He’s intent on psychologically breaking the new immigrant. Represented as a kind of “female Christ” full of suffering, Ewa calls to mind the long-suffering, devout character of Bess in Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves (1996). My one criticism of the film is that there is no evolution in the character of Ewa.
Photo Credit:S. Shafto
One of the key features of the FIFM are its master classes and James Gray did not disappoint. Although he has apparently lived in Los Angeles since his student-days at USC, the American filmmaker continues to plumb the depths of his childhood memories in New York where, he told the packed audience, “melancholy emanated from the walls” as the well-spring for his films. Calling himself the “anti-Tarantino,” he confided that he is trying “to make home movies on a studio scale.” Each of his five films revisits a part of his past. If we learned that The Immigrant is based on conversations with his Polish grandmother, we were left in the dark as to the extent of Gray’s artistic license. As a second-generation American, he is close enough to his immigrant roots to be able to depict what must have been for many an incredibly harsh reality, a reality often elided in the hustle-bustle of American life. In my mother’s family, her maternal great grandmother, Sally Gately, emigrated to the U.S. with her husband and five children from Ireland in the late 19th century. A month after their arrival, she awoke to find her husband dead in his bed, presumably from remorse for having abandoned his homeland. James Gray’s new film would make a nice pairing with Scorsese’s own Gangs of New York (2002) that reveals the deadly rivalries between English and Irish gangs in mid 19th century New York.
James Gray excels at filming actors, particularly actresses. He spoke about the importance of lighting and noted that Eva Mendes is not beautiful from every angle, but the way he films her in We Own the Night, or Gwyneth Paltrow or Vinessa Shaw in Two Lovers (2008) borders on the miraculous. Critics regularly call James Gray America’s European filmmaker and in that sense, he’s old-fashioned. He admitted to not liking Gravity “where the narrative, he told us, didn’t transcend.”
The Italian autobiographical, Those Happy Years by Daniele Lucchetti, included in the eleven non-competition films, was poignant. It’s the story of a young boy whose father, Guido, is an Italian artist in the 1970s, stuck in the mode of Yves Klein, from ten years before, desperately trying to escape his bourgeois lifestyle. It’s a wonderful send-up of the art-world and male-female politics in the 1970s when couples frequently exploded as women abandoned home and hearth to follow the women’s movement. A nice paring with this film would be Marco Ferrari’s The Last Woman (1976).
Alicia Vikander in Hotell
The best actress award went to Alicia Vikander for her role in the Swedish film Hotell. Accepting the award, Vikander warmly thanked her director, Lisa Landseth, for their second film together. The actress plays Erika, a well-to-do interior designer in what seems to be a perfect life until the day she delivers her baby in extremis and he is born brain-damaged. Her child’s handicap sends her into a fathomless depression. Her relationship with her husband deteriorates, while the only people she wants to spend time with are those in her group therapy session. After one meeting, she suggests that they continue their session over the weekend in a hotel. It is there with her new friends that Erika is finally able to break through her carapace of privilege and express her grief and sorrow. If Hotell follows a current trend for treating mental illness on the big (Silver Linings Playbook) and little screen (Claire Danes’ bipolar character in Homeland), it does so with great humanity.
Atlas Studio in Ouarzazate. Photo Credit: S. Shafto
In the middle of the FIFM, there was a press junket to Ouarzazate. A hundred or so journalists made the 20-minute flight to spend a few hours in the Hollywood of North Africa. We visited the two film studios, Atlas, founded in 1983, and CLA, founded in 2005 by Dino De Laurentis, and the Casbah Aït Ben Haddou, located outside of town where Gladiator, with some 3,000 extras was partially filmed. Although I’ve lived in Ouarzazate since 2010, I went along so I could hear the official discourse on Ouarzazate. Since 9/11, fewer films have been shot in Morocco and one of the goals of the FIFM is to lure international talent to the kingdom.
Three Maîtres à penser: Edgar Morin, Nour-Eddine Saïl and Régis Debray. Photo Credit: S. Shafto
The last master-class was held by Régis Debray, which was more an exchange with Nour-Eddine Saïl, another erstwhile philosophy professor, on images. Last year, it was Edgar Morin who gave this talk. Debray described himself as a “mediologist” who comes from philosophy. Introducing him as someone always present at “history’s major rendez-vous,” Saïl asked him how he had first become interested in film. Debray responded that it came naturally, when he abandoned philosophy or philosophy abandoned him. Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch’s Chronique d’un été (1961) was a turning point for him: that documentary made him understand that the world was there to record and in the early 60s he set out for Brazil, accompanied by Peter Kassovitz (the father of Mathieu Kassovitz and who plays the role of Nana’s lover in Godard’s Vivre sa vie, 1962).
As a cinéfils, Debray described himself, not surprisingly, as closer in his youth to the left-wing editorial line of Positif than to Cahiers du cinéma. Filmmaking, he opined, is inevitably “une affaire des jeunes” because it requires such enormous energy. He spoke of his most recent book, Le Stupéfiant image whose title is inspired by Aragon. A play on words, the title refers both to the astounding (the adjectivestupéfiant) power of images and to their druglike-quality (the noun le stupéfiant) and noted the omnipresence of images in the street, publicity images, posters, etc. etc. (The cover of his new book features a portrait of Michel Foucault by the well-known French painter, Gérard Fomanger.) He addresses therein American cinema and its incredible mastery of the power of images. According to Debray, there are two principal winners with the advent of photography: stars and dictators. Given Debray’s general anti-Hollywood stance, I was surprised to hear him declare James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) a great film. He quoted the French art historian Elie Faure on the necessity of giving cinema sufficient time to produce its own masterpieces, since it took hundreds of years to produce the likes of Michelangelo, Caravaggio etc. Echoing Scorsese’s ruminations at the start of the festival, Debray noted that we are inundated by a surfeit of images and that we all need a compass to find our way. “Never has there been, he told us, so great a need for a visual education with this current deluge of traces.”
I was very happy to have had the opportunity to converse with Edgar Morin during the festival. Years ago, I wrote an article, “Rossellini’sGermania anno zero ab ovo and in Reception,” where I discuss Morin’s little known book L’an zero de l’Allemagne (1946) as a source of inspiration for Rossellini’s film. Morin confirmed my hunch and told me that Rossellini had asked his permission to use the title.
Moroccan filmmaker Nour-Eddine Lakhmari whose second feature Zero won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Festival National du film de Tanger headed this year’s jury for the Cinécoles award; two students from the Marrakech film school, l’ESAV, Ayoub Lahnoud and Alaa Akaaboune, won for their short “Bad.” The student award ceremony included a screening of Mahassine El Hachadi’s new short entitled in English, “Post Card.” El Hachadi, a l’ESAV grad and 2010 winner of the Marrakech Cinécole award for her stunning 10-minute film “Apnée.” “Post Card” is the film she has made thanks to her award grant, 30,000 €. Her new film confirms my conviction after seeing “Apnée” that a filmmaker has been born. Mahassine has an eye as well as something to say.
El Hachadi’s new film begins high in the Atlas Mountains, in an isolated village where a baby is being born. The scene is watched by a young girl, Amina, who can’t be more than 10-years-old. Familial scenes are punctuated by long shots of the incredibly beautiful surrounding mountain landscape: post card perfect. Despite her young age, the child is told she should find a husband soon, because there are more women than men: the idea being that if she waits too long, she might not find one! There’s a memorable shot of little feet and striped baskets. Sparsely dialogued, with powerful images, the film closes on an open end. The title, I can only assume, is ironic, because the future that awaits this child is anything but an enviable post card image.
Marrakech, the imperial city that inspired the country’s name, vies with Agadir as the most popular tourist destination in the kingdom. Interestingly, the FIFM actively encourages “ciné-tourism”: during the festival, I had the pleasure of meeting a group of French couples from Brittany (Marie-Louise and Gilbert, Daniel, et al.) who have been coming to the Marrakech festival for the past four or five years! They attended all the in-competition films. Such faithful followers of the festival attest to the FIFM’s success.
Reflecting upon my first time at the FIFM, it would be hard not to concur with the Senegalese journalist Aboubacar Cissoko who calls the festival “a symbol of Morocco’s openness to the world. It’s an invaluable opportunity for journalists, film professionals and critics to meet.” In its savvy strategy for building and retaining its international audience, the FIFM has become a place for forging new friendships and alliances. That can only be good for the future of Morocco. In closing: Jack Lang has just announced the celebration of the Moroccan model with two exhibitions in Paris later this year: one on contemporary arts at the Institut du Monde Arabe and another on Medieval Morocco at the Louvre.
For more information on the Festival International du Film de Marrakech please visit FESTIVALMARRAKECH.INFO/
Since her arrival in Morocco in 2010, Sally Shafto has been regularly covering Moroccan and Maghrebin film. She is the author of theZanzibar Films and the Dandies of May 1968 (2007) and numerous articles on the French New Wave. She teaches at the Faculté Polydisciplinaire de Ouarzazate.
 Narjiss Nejjar, L’Officiel: Le Journal officiel du Festival International du Film de Marrakech, “Interview: Je fais des films lorsque mes yeux crient,” 7 December 2013: 8. Translation by S. Shafto.
 Omar Salim, “Le Festival par Excellence,” Le Temps, n° 215, 13 – 19 December 2013: 37.
 Renaud de Rochebrune, “Une Leçon de cinema [An Interview with Noureddine Saïl],” La Revue [Paris], Dossier: Marrakech autrement, n° 38, December 2013-January 2014: 132-34.
 Ibid: 133.
 See my essay on the film, “Power to the People,” Criterion brochure: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2992-trances-power-to-the-people?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCriterionCollection-TheCurrent+%28The+Current%29
 Benoït Hopquin, “Les Trente Ans de la ‘Marche des Beurs’: La Famille Meddah, témoin du racism ordinaire,” Le Monde, 1 – 2 December 2013: 6.
Conversation with Mohamed Rouda, December 2013.
 Julien Dray, “Entretien: Le PS n’est pas à la point du combat contre les discriminations,” Le Monde, 2 December 2013: 7.
 Sally Shafto, “In Defense of Exchange,” West Space Journal, Summer 2013: http://westspacejournal.org.au/article/summer-2013/in-defense/
 See my review of “As They Say”: “Between Europe and Africa, Inch’allah: Morocco and its 13th National Film Festival in Tangier,”Framework 2012: http://www.frameworkonline.com/festivals/tangiers-film-festival.html
 Hicham Ayouch quoted in “Hicham Ayouch’s Fevers wows Public,” MAP News (General News Bulletin of the Moroccan News Agency), 6 December 2013, n.p.
 Marlow Stern, “Why Joaquin Phoenix, Who Wows in ‘Her,’ Is the Greatest Actor Alive,” The Daily Beast, 14 December 2013: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/14/why-joaquin-phoenix-who-wows-in-her-is-the-greatest-actor-alive.html