The Mirage
Morocco during French colonial rule: Mohamed is one of the legions of rural poor dependent on handouts. One day, he finds a bundle of banknotes in a sack of flour he humbly accepted and dragged home. Mohamed sets off for the city of Salé in order to exchange the unexpected windfall. Yet the money turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing: No matter whom he turns to, no one is willing to believe a ragamuffin like him.
“One day, dreaming will be outlawed” – this sentence marks the culmination of the film’s prologue, the narrative logic of which bows to no convention but the imponderable grammar of dreams. Mohamed encounters tricksters, soothsayers and preachers; he flees from the marching boots of the colonial troops, winding up in surreal landscapes. Ruins. Grottoes and vaults. In fields and on beaches, a nightmare without end.
Ahmed Bouanani’s poetic feature Al-Sarab – which he insisted on filming in black-and-white despite great resistance – is at once the director’s first full-length film and the last he ever made. Its influence on subsequent generations is immeasurable.
by Ahmed Bouanani
with Mohamed Habachi, Mohamed Saïd Afifi, Fatima Regragul
Morocco 1980 Arabic 100’ Black/White


  • Mohamed Habachi
  • Mohamed Saïd Afifi
  • Fatima Regragul


Written and Directed by Ahmed Bouanani
Cinematography Abdellah Bayahia
Editing Ahmed Bouanani
Music Image
Sound Yahia Bou Abdessalam

Produced by

Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM)

Basma Production

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Ahmed Bouanani

Born in 1938 in Casablanca, Morocco. He studied Film at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC) in Paris. In addition to directing his own films, Bouanani also worked as an editor and screenwriter for other Moroccan directors. He was also a writer and published several volumes of poetry. Ahmed Bouanani died in 2011 in Demnate, Morocco.

Filmography (selection)

1966 Tarfaya Aw Masseerat Sha'er / Tarfaya ou La marche d’un poète; 20 min. 1968 Sitta wa Thaniat 'Ashar / Six et douze; 18 min. 1971 Thakirah Arba'at 'Ashar / Mémoire 14; 24 min. 1977 Al-Manabe' al-Arba'a / Les quatre sources; 35 min. 1980 Al-Sarab / Le Mirage (The Mirage); 100 min. 1981 Carte de visite; 30 min. 1982 Casablanca, bilan et perspectives; 50 min. · Sidi Kacem ou le rameau d’Olivier; 11 min. 1984 L’Enfant, la torture et l’ordinateur; 15 min. · Complexe sportif Mohammed V de Casablanca; 22 min. 1991 Raconte-moi Meknès; 16 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017