Orphan Messaoud is adopted by a childless farmer at the age of eight. His adoptive father disciplines the gentle child with extreme severity, leading to ever more rebellious behaviour in the traumatised youth. As a young man, Messaoud gets involved with a group of violent ne’er-do-wells and lives his life on the edge.
Wechma marks a departure in Moroccan cinema: a feature film that is experimental, particularly in the second part, breaks with conventional narrative structures and abruptly counters naturalism with Freudian symbolism and sequences that are downright fantastical.
Hamid Benani, Mohamed Sekkat, Ahmed Bouanani and Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi, classmates at the Parisian film school IDHEC, came together to found the production company Sigma 3 for this film. Wechma was made in collective fashion (Sekkat served as producer, Bouanani as assistant director and editor, Tazi as director of photography). Bouanani’s Al-Sarab was meant to be the collective’s next production, but Benani alienated his collaborators by claiming all the glory for himself. The group broke up and Bouanani had to wait a decade before being able to complete his own project.
by Hamid Benani
with Mohamed Kadan, Kadidja Moujabid, Majdouline Abdelkader Moutaa
Morocco 1970 Arabic 105’ Black/White


  • Mohamed Kadan
  • Kadidja Moujabid
  • Majdouline Abdelkader Moutaa


Director Hamid Benani
Cinematography Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi
Editing Ahmed Bouanani
Music Kamal Dominique Hellebois
Sound Hans Klein

Produced by

Sigma 3 Films

Additional information

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Hamid Benani

Born in 1942 in Meknes, Morocco. He studied Philosophy, after which he completed a degree in Film at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC) in Paris. In 1970, Benani co-founded the production company Sigma 3 along with Ahmed Bouanani, Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi, and Mohamed Sekkat. That same year, he made his first full-length film, Wechma. Hamid Benani is a director, editor, and screenwriter.

Filmography (selection)

1970 Wechma (Traces); 87 min., Berlinale Forum 1971 1995 La Prière de l'absent; 93 min. · La Rivière 1998 Le Mirage 1999 Oulad Laghial 2012 L'Enfant cheikh; 80 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017