Berlinale: Programme


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Al-Sarab

The Mirage

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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

Morocco 1980

Arabic

100 min · Black/White · 35 mm

With

Mohamed Habachi
Mohamed Saïd Afifi
Fatima Regragul

Crew

Written and directed by
Ahmed Bouanani
Director of Photography
Abdellah Bayahia
Editor
Ahmed Bouanani
Music
Image
Sound
Yahia Bou Abdessalam

Biography

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.

Produced by

Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM)
Rabat, Morocco

Basma Production
Morocco