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In , Moha, the proprietor of the land where the edifice was built, wants it demolished, so that he can continue to use the plot to feed his family.
But the diminutive Moha quickly runs afoul of the reigning authorities, civic as well as religious, who forbid him to destroy the make-believe mosque whose minaret doesn’t even point towards Mecca…
In its early years, the festival was itinerant and intermittent.
Since 2005, it has moved to Tangier and has been held there annually ever since then.
It’s the old basketball metaphor that a former boss of mine loved to employ: you keep tossing balls in the air until you get one in the hoop…
Although this is the first film performance for the actor playing Moha (Abdellhadi Touhrache, who comes from the theatre), he is superb and the audience empathises with his dilemma.
The cast also includes Haj Naceur Oujri (as the local has won numerous awards in international festivals, including a Special Mention from the Jury at the San Sebastian Film Festival, the Bayard d’Or for best screenplay at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (Belgium), a Special Mention from the Jury at the Festival International du Cinéma Méditerranéen de Montpelier (France), the Tanit de Bronze in the Journées Cinématographique de Carthage (Tunisia), and a Special Mention from the Jury at the Festival International du Film du Caire (Egypt). For this festivalgoer, merited, at the very least, an award for its screenplay, which stands out, particularly in the context of the other films in competition.
Daoud Aoulad-Syad, appearing in the opening scenes as himself, mocks cinema’s conventions and points a finger at film productions that, once their films are “wrapped”, make their exit, with no thought to the villagers whose lives have been disrupted by the shoots.
And the irony of the scene with the film extra dressed up as Roman soldier, posing for a group of Chinese tourists (“Be generous with him! ”) is particularly bittersweet here in southern Morocco, where the main sources of income are tourism and cinema.