A week at the Marrakech International Film Festival

Wowza! What a week it’s been heading off to films, meeting friends for coffees in between to discuss our thoughts on various films, lunches and more!

For the first time I was able to see about half of the 15 competition films, having picked the titles I saw based on interest but also on scheduling (I run a PR business and Tasting Marrakech tours in between).

You see, the lovely thing about the Marrakech International Film Festival is the selection of world cinema and films that one may not otherwise have the opportunity to view. But that also means a common theme of struggle was present throughout – struggle with one’s environment, struggle to come to terms with one’s sexuality, political struggle, struggling against societal norms. Eventually though film fatigue set in.

However, of the competition films I was able to see, I have this to say about my favourites:

Rebellious Girl (Morocco and Belgium) tells a thought-provoking entry that interestingly displays the parallel between protesting rights in Casablanca and on a farm in rural Belgium. A tale of struggle from the lower classes, those who are seen to “need” a job.

Closet Monster (Canada) provided a fascinating look in to the life of a child whose parents divorce, his mom leaving him with his father while she starts a new life and family. Throughout the film we watch the main character grow up and struggle with his sexuality and coming out in rural Canada. The emotions displayed – disgust, guilt, uncertainty, anger – after a life-changing moment seemed so real! A difficult film to watch, but amazing acting and directing.

Toll Bar (Kazakistan) brought to life a tale I could easily see happening in any society where the income gap is obvious. But also the tale of urban vs rural dwelling. A tale of struggle vs privilege. A tale of being given everything and wanting to make it on one’s own vs having no other option and having to take care of others too. With an ever so sad ending, proving that money talks!
I had hoped this film would win the Palme d’Or.

Key House Mirror (Denmark) told a beautiful love story. A tale of being torn between caring for a loved one, but longing for a relationship. Having one’s long-time dream crushed not only by a friend, but by one’s health. It was a tale of love in old age.
I had hoped the jury would award the main actress for her acting.

Keeper (France, Belgium and Switzerland) was hands-down my favourite competition film. There were tears, joyful moments and surprise twists. But in the end I was left questioning paternal rights.

I was delighted to read that the main actress was awarded best actress by the jury lead by Francis Ford Coppola.

The Marrakech International Film Festival takes place each year in December.



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