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'Mother of Lies' review: An inspiring Moroccan documentary on family secrets and country history

Moroccan documentary filmmaker Asmae El Moudir uses scale models of her childhood neighborhood and figurines representing family, friends and neighbors, many of whom are interviewed here for her debut feature Mother of Lies .

The result is a sly, often funny but ultimately moving study of community, intergenerational suffering, and state cover-up of atrocities, combining documentary techniques with ingenuity and beautifully told Story tricks come together. El Moudir won the Un Certain Regard Best Director Award at Cannes, which is undoubtedly a boon for the film’s distribution prospects and the director’s career.

Mother of Lies

Bottom line Creative and touching.

Place : Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard) Director: Asmae El Moudir

1 hour37 minute

Mother has many good and impressive features, but perhaps second to none in its class is El Moudir’s ability to use voice-over narration, narrated by the director himself, enough to add structure and Personal touches, but not much. It drowns out the polyphony of the other voices in the film. Instead, it feels like the young director, who doesn’t wear the traditional Islamic hijab (unlike her mother, Ouarda Zorkani, and grandmother, Zahra), is our guide to a tiny, strange lost world.

Due to the need to move, the family is packing up the apartment they have lived in for many years in the Cerbata district of Casablanca, Morocco. Asme pointed out how amazing it is that there aren’t any pictures of her as a child, aside from one of her in a white dress. According to El Moudir, it was shot at a community photo studio in front of the Hawaiian backdrop, a favorite location for fantasy portraiture among Moroccans.

In order to show it all, rather than relying solely on photographs of podiums in themselves, El Moudir persuaded her father, Mohammed, a successful architect, to build a set of The community sees a scale model of their house, as well as a dollhouse-like structure showing the interior of their apartment adjoining that of the person next door. Equipped with dolls representing everyone in the family, as well as Abdalla and Said, the two more important neighbors in the story, Asmae has everything needed to create a healing device to help coax the long-dormant tale from its former inhabitants.

What she reveals is that when the public protested the early bread prices, the terrible trauma affected everyone s turned into a massacre, killing many of the inhabitants. Some, like a neighbor girl named Fatima, were killed in the street, while others were taken and tortured by the repressive regime. In a country under a new king, all of which is a history that is still rarely mentioned, the state’s history of human rights is still bad – though nowhere near as bad as the “leadership years” from the early days 60 to the late horror of repression is well known.

El Moudir deftly moves between macro and micro levels, filling the historical record in ways that are accessible to non-Moroccan audiences, but without underestimating the complexity. Meanwhile, both the director and us the audience learn more about her family, especially her angry and overbearing grandmother Zahra, who tears up the statuettes that represent her and stares at the camera in unabashed disgust . This is partly due to many Muslims’ insistence that they disapprove of representation, but Zahra’s anger also stems from her own trauma, which Asme only learned while making the film.

But while this helps the generations understand each other, there is no false sentimentality about the experience; just how the pain plays out in the family and in the larger social unit The feeling of continuation in the blood, especially if the wounds of history never see the light of day.

Full credits

Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard) with: Asmae El Moudir, Zahra, Mohamed El Moudir, Ouarda Zorkani, Abdalla EZ Zouid , Said Masrour Production companies: Insightfilms, Fig Leaf Studio, Al Jazeera Documentary, Red Sea Fund Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Asmae El Moudir Co-Producer: Marc Lotfy Director of Photography: Hatem NechiSet Designer: Mohamed El Moudir
Costume designer: Ouarda Zorkani Editor: Asmae El Moudir, Valuable advice from Nadia Ben Rachid

Sound Designer: Michael Fawzy Music: Nass El Ghiwane Sales: Autlook Films 1 hour 37 minutes

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