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January 2013

Issue N 4

International Cinematic E-Magazine


STUDY DAY ON: Cultural Representation in Moroccan Postcolonial Cinema

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International Cinematic E-Magazine



SPEECH: A Glimpse on Moroccan Cinema Dr. Ahmed EL GAMOUN ICEM

Morning Panel: Diaspora, Space and Moroccan Culture (Moderator: Dr. Mohamed ELKOUCHE) 5. Toward
a Gendered Moroccan Diasporic Cinema: Transgresing the Fetish in Yasmine Kassaris Erraged. Presented by Mimoune DAOUDI 6. Modernizing Moroccan Cinema, Hybridizing/Thirding Moroccan Viewers Culture. Presented by Mohamed GUAMGUAMI 7. The Role of the Cinema and Its Impact on Society. Presented by Mohamed ADLI Afternoon First Panel: Representing Gender in the Moroccan Cinema (Moderator: Dr. Omar BSAITHI) 8. The Female Representation in Moroccan Cinema: How are Moroccan Women Displayed on Screen ? Presented by Meriame ACHEMLAL 9. Moroccan Cinema: A Real or a Fake Reection of Moroccan Women. Presented by Ahlam LAMJAHDI 10.The Politics of Home in Some Moroccan Feminist Movies. Presented by Abdellah ELBOUBEKRI Afternoon Second Panel: Screening Society in the Moroccan Cinema (Moderator: Abdellah El. Boubekri) 11. Challenging Agents of Patriachy in the Moroccan Film Ain Nssa. Presented by Boujamaa EL KOY 12. The History of Moroccan Cinema: An Introduction. Presented by Hanae BELHASSNI 13. Moroccan Cinema: The Expectation of the Audience and the Stagnation of the Intellectuals. Presented by Youssef HARRAK

Cinema is like holding mirrors to societies as it turns them into stereographic spaces where a wide range of roads are often left untraveled yet. Hence, studying cinemas of different countries and continents results in having windows of various types opened on different cultures and civilizations.

Run by a host of Moroccan student researchers being interested in Cinematographic and Film Studies, International Cinematic E-Magazine (ICEM) is a quarterly E-Magazine; open to all the World Cinemas and different Schools of thought. Each Newsletter will be dedicated to a particular cinema.

The ultimate goal has been to create a virtual space where ink can be spilt from different walks of thought and analyses in approaching the World Cinemas. Being ambitious enough, Seminars, Study Days and other academic meetings and activities will be held with the aim of bringing together critics, lm-makers, researchers, actors, actresses among many others to ponder over issues related to Cinema and Film-industry .Different national and international Festivals shall be covered. New lms will be reviewed as well. New contributors and commentators are invited to have their say on I.C.E.M. For further information, please contact us at:


Cultural Representation in Moroccan Postcolonial Cinema


Dr. Ahmed EL GAMOUN is professor of Spanish Literature at the Faculty of Letters, Oujda.

This study day hopes to provoke thought on the various turns and shifts in the 50 years or about life of Moroccan cinema. It invites students to contribute critical presentations on related topics such as the following: Economic and institutional development of Moroccan national cinema Attendance in movie theater/ consumption/ social change The state control of cinema content/ freedom of expression

The representation of rural and urban spaces, social and cultural identities Moroccan encounters with economic globalization Transnational diaspora/ homeland and cinematic production The linguistic representation in national and diaspora lms Representation and educational issues The technologies of othering in Hollywood fantasies Particularity and universality in Moroccan cinema.


Morning Panel:

Diaspora, Space and Moroccan

Culture (Moderator: Dr. Mohamed ELKOUCHE)


Toward a Gendered Moroccan Diasporic Cinema: Transgressing the Fetish in Yasmine Kassaris Erraged
which are activated to develop a gender rhythm and managed to conquer its subtext that highlights dialogue with otherness within. Key Words: Diasporic lm, own public. Abdelkader Lagtaas Un Amour a Casablanca (1991) and Mohamed Aberrahman Tazis Looking for My Wifes Husband (1993) were lms that shattered g e n d e r e d c i n e m a , wo m e ns the barrier between cinema and the public in Morocco. with ample talent agency, Morocco, engagement. Mimoun DAOUDI Moroccan cinema operates today in on hand, a younger generation keen to

very turbulent conditions, marked not take up the mantle, and the government only by changes in its own national projecting increased nancial support

Examined within cultural, ethnic and environment but also by far-reaching for lm production, much would seem socio-political context, the work of developments on a world scale in to be in place for continued growth and Moroccan women diasporic lmmakers technology, economics, politics and an increasingly dynamic Moroccan lm problematize xated identity within an culture. ( KEVIN DWYER, 2007, p. imagined and bounded territorial space 277). Moroccan cinema is described by while at the same time they draw many lm critics as an emerging sector. In addition to the rst generation of Moroccan lm makers such as Jilali

attention to huge bulk of women based cinematographic power because of the Ferhati, A. Lagtaa, A. Tazi and Nouri, a on an overall common experience of particular support and assistance by the number of diasporic thematic and have poverty and victimization under a state in particular and growing interest had a fundamental inuence in the dominant patriarchal order. Diasporic of the public in general. French lm dominant dramatic impulse that is lms raise consciousness towards the critic Michel Serceau considers that historical thematic seen through the fact that Moroccan womans identity is Moroccan cinema has gained ground in gure of a national hero. Those gained through self articulation of front of Algerian one which was a diasporic lmmakers tried to respond to d i f f e r e n c e a n d p e r s o n a l a s s e t s leading third world countries in an expectation and a need to reindependent of the deterministic cinematic production in the 60s and the appropriate m em or y ris k in g to patriarchal values. They also put into 70s. In the area of lm policy there sublimate it through ctional narratives focus the necessary separation from have been a number of positive, and neutralize any historicist vision of prevailing ideologies which enables the although modest, developments in history. They anchored themselves in subversion of dominant viewpoints that Morocco. In particular, state nancial original territory. They go beyond the construct women as inferior Others. support for lms has increased. The mainstream cinematic production and This paper engages in probing the main state support to lm production position themselves in sharp contrast to female agency and the increasing comes via the Aid Fund, administered the stereotyped gures of the dominant gender dimension taking Y. Kassaris by the CCM. The amounts awarded cinema and revisit a deprived suburb lm Erraged (The Sleeping Child) (2004) as have increased signicantly in recent and a marginalized bulk of illiterate a case study. In the same way my years, now reaching a total of 50 women. analysis highlights the ways Moroccan million dirhams a year (about $5 women diasporic lmmakers reshape million), approximately two and a half traditional concepts and myths so as to times the amount awarded just a few c r e a t e a f e m i n i n e q u e s t f o r years ago. In fact, Moroccan cinema independence and provide several managed to succeed a double challenge. structural elements in the narrative text First, it succeeded to maintain a regular '


The 21st century has signaled a new phase narrative of this cinema exhibits sensitivity thereby poses a challenge to gender
in Morocco bringing issues of gender to the to gender issues whereby the female is forefront and tackling engrained cinematic perceived from a gender lens. and social inections in patriarchal society. Laura Mulvey (1975) advanced the idea hierarchy as well as opening up a new realm for a post-gendered future. The paper in its ensuing sections will build an argument

The question of individual identity is one of of a ruling ideology which leads the male about the portrayal of women in Moroccan the major concerns of diasporic cinema as onlooker to identify with the male cinema seen from the lenses of diasporic seen in the variety of themes tackled and protagonist, or hero in the lm. Mulvey Moroccan women lm makers. Having been inspired by an age-old the different cinematic techniques handled. argued that the male hero in the lm acts as A number of lms posit identity dimension the bearer of the look. This means that he Moroccan mythology whereby women stop on the level of the conict between the possesses the controlling power of the male the fetus from growing in its mothers womb self and the other when they examine gaze and that the lm sees everything in till the father is back, the lm disrupts the the impact of migration on both the the narrative through his eyes. The male image of the woman as a passive, individual psyche when encountering the spectator is therefore in privileged position, submissive wife and as a perfect gure and new space (Leghzoulis Tenja) and the seeing the female characters through the martyr for her own family. Zineb epitomizes traditional self embodied in those women gaze of the hero, sharing as it were in the the victim wife who refuses to leave her left behind. In the cinema of the Maghrib, power of the hero. She wrote a widely- husbands house despite perpetual severe the quest for identity is not conned to the discussed article Visual Pleasure and national and gender aspects alone, but Narrative Cinema about pleasure, physical and emotional violence. Her devotion to the principle of satisfying the mainstream cinema, and the possibilities of h u s b a n d s e g o c u l m i n at i n g t o a pervades all aspects of social life. One of a new kind of lm which challenged the conventional closure that demands the recurring themes in this cinema is the dominant system. She thought that the adherence to traditional values of marriage conict between modernity and tradition and motherhood makes of her a real wo m e n , wh i ch we re u s e d fo r t h e portrayal of the Other. relevance to the quest for identity. This is gratications of men. The most powerful often expressed in the context of ruralHowever, the lm presents us to a space institutions in society, including the cinema, urban migration (Sabry Hafez, 1995, p. 43.) totally invaded by women since all men At the same time, this cinema resonates with are being run for the benet of men. It can have quitted Morocco in search for a growing tendency in lms that address the be noted that patriarchal structures economic survival. Mens absenteeism is social fracture in which the gendered and engrained in society attempt to conne strategically interwoven in the fabric of the marginalized lives of the underclass and individuals to particular roles and spaces. lm narrative. In fact, the lm scenes are voiceless subjectivities in the deserted areas The role of the female in society has often fraught with silencing strategies. In the in North East Morocco. In doing so, been equated to silence, one might argue wedding party for instance Kassari pictures Moroccan women diasporic cinema that she is even imprisoned in this role as men totally covered with white djellabas as deconstructs and challenges hegemonic mother, housewife and wife, all of which is the dead covered with a shroud, an understandings of Moroccan female can be considered enclosed within the indication of a coming death of those men identity as it mediates a re-imagining of the boundaries of a home under the watchful who are about to migrate to the northern self from the viewpoint of the postcolonial eye of the patriarch, the male of the house. side of the Mediterranean. The wedding is Kassari eloquently sets the scene of in fact a farewell to patriarchal authority subaltern subject. In this way, Moroccan which is often treated in terms of its diasporic cinema engages in a socio-political the lm as she introduces the spectator to and similarly symbolizes males fading project that expresses truths about home Zineb and her role as an obedient visibility in front of the females presence and about the social experience of postcoloniality and renders it transparent. Additionally, diasporic Moroccan cinema housewife. The lm powerfully attracts both and empowerment. After her husbands viewers and critics attention not only departure for clandestine labor in Europe, because it occasioned a heated debate, but Zineb is left to live with her mother-in-law, narrative ction lm created images of

r e e c t s n a t i o n a l s p e c i c i t i e s i n a also it is a lm text that makes vivid a grand-mother-in-law, and the young girl. postcolonial moment. This cinema pays variety of complex features of rural Four generations of females are left behind; considerable attention to the structures of Morocco of the 21st century. The lm in however, mans presence appears only through the minds of those women. The males control is symbolically being present despite their physical absence. the social totality in which culture functions; fact raises the controversies about women it emphasizes the role of national culture and empowerment that accompany the and the relationship of cultural processes to global changes known in contemporary the forces and relations inherent in the Morocco. It valorizes Moroccan women prevailing mode of production. The experiences outside patriarchal control and


The female protagonists in this lm

My analysis adheres to the pioneering characters are excluded from public life and

grow steadily towards disillusionment. At psychoanalytical theories such as the have no control over important life-changing the outset of the lm, Zineb is portrayed male gaze by Laura Mulvey who argues decisions. Besides suffering physical isolation, as a victim who struggles to carve her that Woman stands in patriarchal own destiny. Her life is entirely limited to culture as signier for the male other,
of social degradation and invent a valid solution to escape from oppression. I tried to these characters venture outside the control

the routine tasks: milking the goat, bound by a symbolic order in which analyse and argue the case for the evolving cleaning wool and grain, cooking, man can live out his fantasies and portrayal, cultural conception and, most serving meals, and fetching wood and obsessions through linguistic command, importantly, the redenition of gender in the water. However, the female transgresses by imposing on them the silent image of 21st Century lmography in Moroccan the myth of privileging the male and woman still tied to her place as bearer of diaspora. This challenging of foundations step into a new dynamic role in society. meaning, not maker of meaning. (p. and breaking of boundaries, stereotypes and Kassari portrays the female as intelligent 25). Once Hassan receives the photo he engrained ideals pertaining to patriarchy and and more importantly active agent in turns it with the only admonition that the male gaze have been crucial in this her lmography. The fact that Zineb she should never leave the house without goes to the nearest village to take a her husbands permission. picture indicates the stereotypical The spectators gaze is directed
Moroccan cinema. analysis of the new conception of gender in

Bibliography connement of the woman to particular towards the fragmented image of Zineb. Ar mes, Roy. 2005. POSTCOLONIAL roles and spaces. She is no longer whole in the eyes of the IMAGES: STUDIES IN NORTH Zinebs decision to destroy the camera and arguably this could be said amulet to let the fetus grow has led to to represent the ruling ideology within gaze to independently act as an that fragmentation can be seen as a form individual able to explore her own of fetishism, arguing that the camera individuality. In the same line, Moroccan fetishizes the female form. (Kaplan, women diasporic cinema has shifted the 1983, p. 31). camera focus from the womans body to her identity as an individual. Films such Conclusion as . have wonderfully portrayed
This paper has focused on lm AFRICAN FILM . Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Cinema in T.Bennett et al. (eds)

the change of direction from a site of its patriarchal core values. Kaplan notes Mulvey, L. (1981) Visual Pleasure and Narrative
Popular lm and TV, London: Oxford University Press and British Film Institute. Dwyer, Kevin(2007)'Moroccan Cinema and the Promotion of Culture',The Journal of North African Studies, 12:3, 272-286. Fatima Sadiqi and Moha Ennaji. THE FEMINIZATION OF PUBLIC SPACE: WOMEN'S ACTIVISM, T H E F A M I L Y L A W, A N D SOCIALCHANGE IN MOROCCO. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Special Issue: Women's Activism and the

women as central to the story line. narratives that reect a signicant evolution Different roles played by women have fo r wo m e n i n M o ro c c a n d i a s p o r i c altered the earlier male domination on to the Moroccan lm makers who shrewdly tackle issues deemed taboo subjects such as sexuality and indelity
lmography. Kassaris lm discusses the

the screen. This change is not only due dynamic role of Moroccan rural women. Her perspective gives insight into the changes
that women have brought about contemporary rural Morocco. Unlike many lms that focus on Moroccan women in

but also to the credit of the current crop urban areas, Erraged provides enough space Public Sphere (Spring 2006), pp. 86-114. of actresses who have never been for women in rural areas to afrm their hesitant to accept bold roles. In these visibility, power, and invention of the self. Sabry Hafez. Shifting Identities in Maghribi lms, the female is usually shown as bold Zineb and Halima develop agency through and empowered who leads life on her transcending the few alternatives offered to own (Nora in Tenja) takes her own women which are mainly submission to decisions, and is often a rebel who patriarchal normativity, osolation or death. doesnt conform to social norms and traditions.
This transcendence, this paper ahs tried to argue, is stimulated by ignoring patriarchal hegemony and escaping a situation of subordination to male gures. These female Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 15, Arab Cinematics: Toward the New and the Alternative (1995), pp. 39-80

Cinema: The Algerian Paradigm.





January 2013



Modernizing Moroccan Cinema, hybridizing/ Thirding Moroccans Viewers Culture

Within such a framework has postcolonial Moroccan cinema progressed. Some of Moroccan cinematographic entrepreneurs have inclined to abide by modern issues that might overcome some traditional and cultural aspects in their artistic pieces of work. The outcome is that viewers and , in general, social classes re getting, willy-nilly and unconsciously, torn between ancestral roots and todays modern(ized) daily life routines. To the extreme edge, most Moroccans re acquiring thirdness etiquettes in their mode of living and thinking due to especially means of mass media, one of which is the seventh art. I will start by various examples and models of Moroccan cinematic works and then induce general statements as far as the title implications are concerned.

With the advance of in technological and
thematic aspects of the world cinema industry, Moroccan cinema has been so much inuenced and eventually has undergone sharp change. Filmmakers, directors and scenarists have got to embrace new modern ideas, concepts, theories, themes, philosophies, etc to ultimately suit the viewers mode of thinking and visual taste. Of course, modernization has roots in the literary and philosophical trends, of which cinema, being included in mass media and as any other domain, has to adopt in its development modernist means and orientations.

By reading this article, the reader should be able to:

Trace a historical development of

Moroccan cinema industry;

Conclude some thematic


Induce the effects of

modernization on Moroccan viewers culture.



I) Development of Moroccan Cinema Industry:


I.1 - Laying the industry foundations (1956-70)

Many lms have multiple topics and can be found in several categories because the topics are inter-related. For example, the topic of womens oppression would perhaps also be a topic of tradition challenged by modernizing society.

In the early independence era nation building, efforts required In #@@ @ @ @ @ @A#-@@ @ @ @ @ @B a young man inured the new advancements of city that most cinematic production occur under the auspices of the life, modern warfare and technical gadgetry; while there he Centre Cinmatographique Marocain CCM, whose role was rapes a young woman whose life he thus destroys, but feels increasingly elaborated and dened during this period. absolutely nothing for her plight nor about his act. Filmmaking was limited to documentaries, short lms, and development lms, as well as newsreels. Few lmmakers were In #@@ @ ? the young woman becomes a doctor, primarily to ght prepared to enter the eld at this time: what she considers the ignorant and dangerous practices of traditional magic and sorcery, but she nds she must still face 1968 #$%& #)* #-. #01* the ignorant and dangerous practices of traditional male 1969 231* 4-05* 6078* 9:; domination and authority even in the supposedly modern and national world of medicine. 1970 - <=#%7 >0:? 4:; I.2- Looking to dene a Moroccan Aesthetic, 1971-85 In this era, Morocco embarked upon a program of social development and included Arabization and proliferation of education and institutions, increased urban migration, public dependence on government employment, and emergence of women into the public sphere. Government institutions took precedence in many areas of life, and were primarily responsible for modernization and the dissemination of nationalist ideology, particularly through newspapers, magazines, radio and TV., while cinema clubs were increasingly informed by third cinema discourse arising from Latin America and Algeria. (Notice the inclination to French language): Trane, El Manouni 1981; De lautre ct du euve, Elbbassi- 1982; Couchmar, Yachn - 1984; Triology de Derkaoui 1981-85 I.3 - New developments, New Audiences, 1986-2006 Here, Moroccan lms underwent dramatic changes in terms of style and content, several lms attracted various reviews and huge audiences: Une porte sur le ciel, Belyazid 1987-8; Un amour Casablanca, Leqla - 1991; Lenfance vole, Noury - 1994; Ali Zaoua, Nabil Ayouch - 2000; MaRock, Leila Merrekchi - 2005 Love in Casablanca broke new ground in Morocco by talking for the rst time about the problems that youths and young adults face in urban environments, their problems are entirely new and generated solely by the process of rapid modernization and change that has no concomitant values.
Rhesus, the Blood of the Other was specically meant to speak about the taboo of AIDS that had always been characterized in Morocco as affecting only foreigners. Marock also broke in the 2000s a thorny issue on the question of traditions and occidental modernity. This thematic study of these samples of the Moroccan movies has had a great impact on the cultural aspects change and habits of the different classes of audiences. The other factor that goes beside lmmaking is lmmakers. As such, Morocco has been frequently been the location of both US and European lmmakers since the 60s. It was the favorite location for many legendary directions. Often, Morocco was seen as some other exotic locale in such hits. Inspired by this, Moroccan cinema industry is screening today modern movies by Moroccan directors, that highlight themes that run deep in contemporary Moroccan society: the conict between tradition and modernity, the rising power of women, and the strong allure that European and American culture holds for Moroccan youths. Generally, what is distinct about this industry is that the cultural traditions and social issues typically reected in Morocco cinema challenge the limits of conventional public discourse. Knowing that nearly all of the major names is lmmaking have studied in France, Belgium or elsewhere in the West. Many lmmakers of the generation that rose to prominence were students in the West.

Therefore, cross-cultural inuences have also played a part in the process of lmmaking. Films initially produced in the national lm industries were by and large wholly funded by the II) CONCLUDING THEMES State and were to greater or lesser extent propagandistic, expressing particular views of the struggle for liberation. With It has to draw how Moroccan lm industry functioned to the passing years and the increase in the cost of production, represent Morocco: women, emigration, displacement, lmmaking relied on procuring funds through co-production alienation, tradition vs. modernity, the colonial experience, state with funding coming from the West. One can argue, hence, that bureaucracy and power plays, pessimism and failure, the benets of co-production enable lmmakers to leverage projections of hope and doubt about the future. more control over the content of their lms. [11]

III) Visual Representation and disciplines and is salient in cultural Cultural Construction
III.1- What is Visual Culture?

the cutting edge of translation and negotiation, the in-between space that carries the burden of the meaning of culture (1994:38). It is that Third Space, though unrepresentable in itself, which constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensures that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or xity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricized and read anew (37) This layer of cultural construction implies that the emergence of another type of culture. It postulates no identication that is neither with nor with the received one. Some of Moroccan audiences are located in-between and hence construct yet another sort of culture, torn between the two. Conclusion:

dimensions. It has become a logic, entailing traces of other culture, thus offering cinema (as an example) trans-cultural wedges for

A&s an academic subject, it is a eld of forging affective links between its study that generally includes some commodities and receivers/ audiences. combination of cultural studies, art history, critical theory and anthropology, by two relatively distinct forms, styles, or focusing on aspects of culture that rely on identities, cross-cultural contact is a visual images. Film studies overlaps with requisite. But recently media research has visual culture study a lot. The latter addressed culture mixture as a post-colonial basically aggregates visual events in which debate: information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology. Framed in such a eld, the construction of culture (reality) within the cinema (Moroccan one as a case) is understood through lms recording of it. Film becomes a wider marker of culture when it is traced a recorder of reality and hence a valuable tool (Miller, 1992: 192) in the manufacturing of reality and also in our A s such, the boundaries between Most of researchers have typically analyzed hybridity within a communicative framework of production, text/message and reception. The lion share of this research has focused on media texts and the dynamics of media reception. (N. Thomas (1995) Cultural Hybridity and Communication. And since hybridity involves the fusion of

apprehension of reality, and as such allow domestic and foreign cultural inuences To sum up, the Moroccan cinema industry for a visual representation. Representation are demarcated. Watching movies creates a is developing, but the more it keeps doing is thus made real to an audience through social cultural power on the audience; the so, the more cultural change is taking place reception effect leads to the formation of on the level of consuming/receiving new the medium of lm.
Film assembles images together to disseminate compelling narratives to a vast audience at the same time. Hence audiences become involved in the process of representation. They become more than passive receptacles of the images that are presented to

hybridity: to some very large extent, movies imported cultural trends. Henceforth, the viewers come to identify with what they viewer nds him/herself torn between have seen and watched a specic sticking to ancestral cultural background identication occurs here. and inclining to alleged modern(ized) Since culture is not static, there is mode of thinking!

identication with media forms, one of Works cited: which is movies. Moroccan audience senses them. This is achieved through lms of cultural identity can increase as modern Bryson, I. (2000). A History of Ethnographic
ability to utilize material and intuitional practices to make representation more real. (In Film, Representation and Exclusion, S u n e e t i R e k h a r i , U n i v. o f Wollongong)

forms of movies bring them new and Filmmaking. (Canberra: Studies press) compelling cultural forms to identify with. III.3- The In-between Stance Bhabha, H. (1994). The Location of Culture. (Taylor and Francis)

In the unconscious interaction between the Gayle, S. C. (2009). What Moroccan Cinema?: A Historical and Critical Study, 1956-2006. III.2- From Visual Consumption to cultural construction of Moroccan screening and the viewers cultural (UK: Lexington Books) Hybrid Transformation Hybridity refers in its most sense to mixture. Its contemporary users are scattered across numerous academic background, a third culture is being built (Casmir, 1999). Bhabha (1994) further talks about the enunciation of a hybrid culture in a third space. It is [12] Miller, T. (1992). How does Film Theory Work? In The Australian Journal of Media and Culture Journal, N 168


The Role of Cinema and Its Impacts on Society


The Role of Cinema and Its Impacts on Society.

Cinema is a powerful visual medium. It is one of the most popular means of mass communication because it has tremendous potentialities to entertain and educate. Cinema seems to have different meanings for different people. It is, for example, a lucrative business for the producers and nancers, whereas for actors and actresses, it is a source of good earnings. Artists and directors believe that it is nothing but an important form of art. For other people, they prefer to take it as an audio-visual translation of literature mean for different people, it is undoubtedly, an important art form which can entertain and educate as well. In Morocco, cinema seems to have the ability to combine entertainment with communication of ideas because it owes the potential appeal for its audiences. It certainly remains as important as the other means of media in making such an appeal. Moreover, the Moroccan cinema tends to mirror the episodes in a manner that leaves an impact on the coming contradictions available in any other society. Cinema occupies an important place not only in Morocco, but in most societies as well. In the beginning, its pictures were just movies in the form of movements, but with no sound. Such pictures were called silent motion pictures. The latter were shown with the help of projectors. However, with the invention of the photo-electric cell, it became possible to introduce the sound track in the lms. The pictures thereafter were not only movies but talkies as well and then became very popular within a very short time.

lorem ipsum dolor met set generations and therefore, it gives us quam nunc parum a clear image of the society in which because they see it as a cheap and
easy means of entertainment for the masses. So whatever cinema may


it is born as well as the hopes, a s p i r at i o n s, f r u s t r a t i o n s a n d


Before the advent of the cinema, the drama or stage-acting was regarded as the most popular source of entertainment. There were many claims that stage-acting suffered from a number of problems and would be ousted by the cinema, but ultimately those fears proved to be untrue. The drama still continues to enjoy its place of prestige, thanks to the physical presence of human beings on the stage which seems to have a direct emotional appeal to the spectators. However, it should be noted that cinema in Morocco also has acquired great popularity among the masses since it is a powerful and effective means of communication thanks to its audio-visual character which has a great mass appeal. Such a powerful and effective power can be gainfully used in a variety of ways. Being the most popular source of entertainment for millions of people, Moroccan cinema has been used as an important instrument for creating public awakening. In addition, it has helped, to a great extent, in enlisting public co-operation in the task of nationbuilding. In general, cinema in Morocco seems to have already shaped the societies and people. Though people are often said to possess free will, their behavior, in fact, is greatly inuenced by the cinema. The latter has made viewers become ordinary receivers of information when they are watching a movie or some TV show. They dont think much about the contents, ideas, the thoughts and the actions behind the screen. Casanegra, for instance, is a Moroccan lm released in 2008, directed by Noureddine Lakhmari. The lm revolves around the two protagonists Adil and Karim who take us on their adventure through the Moroccan city (Casablanca) which is referred to as Casanegra in reference to the lack of opportunities and hopes for young Moroccans. The lm focuses on the social injustices and the bad conditions in which both Adil and Karim live. As a result of this situation, they are ready to commit any crime for the sake of having money and escaping Morocco. The lm teaches people, especially young ones, many important lessons. Young people have a big task to do. Their role is more important than any other category of people. Thats why, they should look for themselves inside their country; create opportunities and work hard in order to become good members of their societies. Another important lm is entitled Class 8, released in 2004, and directed by Jamal Belmejdoub. The lm reveals the story of a young French teacher, who was very happy because she has just been appointed in Casablanca, but because of her two students Mjid and Miloud, who belong to poor families and who live in very bad conditions; her happiness will turn into a nightmare. The lm deals with the problems that can exist [15]

between a teacher and his or her students. It provides examples

and situations of the extent to which students can create problems to themselves, their peers and their teachers. The lm gives many lessons related to ethics and values. However, people should watch it deeply, especially students, and look for its positive side and for the rationale behind it in order to benet from it and avoid having such problems with their teachers in class.

There is a number of critics and analysts who argue that the extent to which a lm can inuence people largely depends on why they have gone to the cinema and what kind of lm they are going to view. If the lm is cognitive, viewers seem to be much more likely to have an open mind about the subject matter and want to gain knowledge and think about the problems and ideas presented to them. Cognitive lms, therefore, could be considered as more inuential than other types. Personal and social integrative lms could also be quite inuential, in that viewers may go to see them in order to work through a problem that they may face in the real life. Nevertheless, affective lms and those designed to release tension are arguably the least inuential, as audiences usually watch them in order to simply be entertained and relax. Movies have become such an inseparable part of our daily lives. It is almost difcult, for everybody, to imagine a world without them. Of course, with the advent of newer technology, the number of theater and cinema goers has reduced drastically, but the number of movie viewers has sky rocketed. The movie industry is booming and shows no signs of relenting. The simple reason behind this fact is that movies open a window of innumerable possibilities for its viewers. It lets people escape into a world which is far from the realities of their daily activities. In our Moroccan society, there are many practices and traditions which are based on ignorance and which have withheld the progress of our society and caused enormous harm to it. Cinema lms, for instance, can do a lot to eradicate these evils. First, lms can be used for promoting a number of themes such as national integration, Prohibition, family planning and eradication of illiteracy. Such themes can be very helpful in the transformation of our society. Second, the cinema can be used as an instrument that helps people get rid of obscurantism and be guided along the right path. In addition to this, Moroccan cinema can also help people remove ignorance from their social environment. Certainly, no one can deny that many social reforms can be introduced and brought with the help of the cinema. In this regard, it is of paramount importance to mention that movies exercise a positive as well as a negative impact on societies:

Certain movies play positive roles in their advertising industry focuses on. They use a few societies. Not all movies are bad. It, however, completely depends on the subject matter of the movie. Some movies try to create awareness about the socioeconomic and political state of

instead of being good citizens. Further, many

seconds of movie footage in order to market other viewers consider some actors as their their products to the whole world. For instance, modals or as people who almost owe some a new car model, or new designer clothes and superiority over them, whatever they do affects accessories, are showcased to the world by the them as well. They try to emulate them and fashion trends, the way they speak, and the

affairs of nations. They spread awareness about actors enacting their roles. This makes us aware behave like them. They imitate their newest the evils of drug abuse, alcoholism, and the of the new product, makes us curious and evils of having many sexual partners. Many movies also create awareness about the importance of education, medicine, and politics interested. This results in us nding out about lifestyles they lead, both on and off-screen. This the new product through the internet and is exactly why smoking in movies was banned in through discussions with friends. This way, the the very beginning, because many people,

and bring people to understand more about the chain of advertising and communication of the especially young ones, used to watch their depravity of the homeless, and the plight of information continues in a ow smooth, favorite actors smoking on-screen and decide or underdeveloped countries, or countries movies help awaken the sense of responsibly and empathy towards such situations. These socially enlightening movies help people realize the messages which were being conveyed. Therefore, they inuence the thought process in a positive way and help people try to do their best in order to be of some help to humanity and the proof is that there have been cases where people have taken up animal protection and human right activities after being moved by a movie which they watched. without making the advertising Companies feel that they, too, must try it. Movies have also affected our culture and moral beliefs as well by making many of our habits and gestures look normal, which in reality might turn out to be an extremely unsafe and detrimental practice for everyone involved. The role that a number of movies play in our childrens lives can impact our kids negatively, but it is something that we can and need to prevent. Taia Brown, a representative of the Media Violence organization said that: Because children have high levels of exposure, media have greater access and time to shape young people's attitudes and actions than do parents or teachers, replacing them as educators, role models, and the primary source of information about the world and how one behaves in it While inuence used to be the role of parents and educators, movies may be in fact the most important and inuential form of information for children. In todays Moroccan society, our children are being raised by the movies. The impact that the latter plays in the lives of our children can be detrimental to their growth and development. Children who are exposed to prolonged viewings or viewings of violence at early ages are prone to exhibit aggressive behavior and may end by having no real emotion. Children emulate what they see and in turn, it is what they will do. They are unable to differentiate whether or not the behavior that is being portrayed is something that they should copy. Unfortunately, many of them will do it anyway because no one is explaining to them that they should not. Many movies have their own negative points, just like everything else in the world. Nonetheless, their impact on Moroccan society run very deep and has become an integral part of our very existence. They affect us in more ways than we can imagine. stigmatized by years of war. All these types of spend more money. However, certain movies can also play negative roles in their societies. During the last years, cinema seems to have lost its educative and social aspect. It has become only a commercial object because of the ignorance of its educative values. Nowadays, many lms are produced just to earn more and more money. The producers and nanciers are merely concerned about the commercial value of the lms. Driven by these desires, they pack the lms with the bad ingredients of sex, violence, and other things which lead to the decline of moral values of a given society. This tendency is not good in the larger interests of society, and nations as well. Films are a major source of inventiveness. One directly imitates what he or she sees in movies. Our dress, our hairstyle, shape and design, even manners and habits are inuenced by movies. All these things rst appear in lms with glamour and attractiveness and are followed later by common men. Thus, it is important to mention that cinema should depict something healthy and give proper

Inducing Creativity:

Movies help boost peoples imagination. They start to think about the things they saw and then, take their imagination a little further and visualize. This is one of the reasons why the animation industry is gaining more and more enthusiastic entrants. Even young aspiring actors and movie makers are desirous of joining the movie industry, simply because they also will get to explore new horizons of their creativity and produce something new. Generating Employment:

The movie industry has played a massive role directions so as to keep the larger interests of in generating employment for people all over society. Unfortunately in recent years, it seems the world. Since there are so many people to have deviated from its social obligation and involved in making and producing movies, it started causing g reat har m to social naturally has a wide scope for new job openings, though this requires specialized training. Providing Social Entertainment: Movies act as an escape hatch for people who wish to forget about all their worries, frustrations and tensions, even if their effects people focus on things which have nothing to responsibility. It should be noted that everything we watch and listen to, affects and inuences us in a way or another. If not consciously, movies leave their traces in our psychic. One of the best examples is the Moroccan program called Dangerous criminals which is normally helping them escape the mistakes of other

last for a few hours. They entertain and make introduced for the benets of people and for do with their own personal lives. Movies are people. Unfortunately, it is said that many successfully able to inuence their viewers to a criminals, nowadays, are taking lessons from it. very large extent, which is exactly what the They imitate the new types and ways of crimes


Afternoon First Panel: Representing Gender in the Moroccan Cinema (Moderator: Dr. Omar BSAITHI)


Moroccan cinema and the presence of females: As we may know, Moroccan cinema belongs to third cinema movement, which is a populist cinematic voice reecting the sociocultural and political issues of the developing world 1. Moroccan cinema is considered as a third cinema since most of the movies try to reect the Moroccan society which is in a constant change. As this change is occurring in our society, the situation of women in Morocco events of the society.2 She goes on to assert that they are operating as free agents in a society of equal exchange.3 The representation of females in Moroccan cinema remains controversial to some extent. Filmmakers represented women in many different ways, ranging from the traditional Moroccan women, the modern free women, women as activists and militants, women as cunning and vicious, stressing the role of the woman as a mother, a sister, a friend and a lover. Now I will move to cover the way women are represented in Moroccan cinema. 2- The female body in Hob Darlbaydaa: Hob Darlbaydaa or Love in Casablanca is a movie produced in 1991 and directed by Abdelqader Laqtaa. The main actors are Mouna Fettou and Ahmed Naji. The story takes place in Casablanca and talks about a young woman called Saloua who tries to challenge the Moroccan traditions and who is caught between two men: an older lover and a young photographer. After her mother committed suicide and her elder sister ran away from home, Saloua the young schoolgirl in her18, is subjected to the rigor of her father and her stepmother harassment. She engaged to Jalil an old married man and quickly becomes his mistress. At the time when she tries to break her love affair with Jalil, she met Najib, a young photographer of twenty years. Torn between her love for Jalil and the love she felt for Najib, she nds herself in a real dilemma. She nds no way to solve this problem except if she tells the truth to her two lovers, which causes a real drama, when she discovers that Jalil is Najibs father.

Meryem AChemlal

is also changing according to the sociopolitical change. In the new era, Moroccan women have tried hardly to change the traditional patriarchal ideas and to subvert power relations that are established on concept of the gender difference. Moroccan cinema has contributed to empower women and to give them voice. It has become a cultural tool to help the society to make an intellectual, social and cultural change. Moreover it helps the country to reconstruct its cultural and national identity. Moroccan lmmakers have challenged the social status quo and have dared to represent Moroccan women in many different ways. Women have become an essential component in the Moroccan cinematic productions and this representation varies according to the point of view of the lmmaker and his ideologies. Filmmakers have tackled all the taboos trying to normalize what was abnormal, to talk about the unsaid and to cover the hidden sides and the unrevealed aspects of our society. In this regard, Valerie Orlando an American writer and researcher considered the contemporary lmmakers as being committed to the conscience of humanity, because they are involved in the response to the events, meaning that they react and produce lms that respond to the social needs of Moroccan and discusses the actual



In this movie Laqta tries to expose within the auditorium6. As in the case of this in 2003, starring Mouna Fetto. This movie tells the suffering of young girl who is torn between modernity and traditions. Throughout the the traditional norms and she succeeds to construct her own world far away from her fathers patriarchy. Saloua is depicted as a free modern woman who does not care about the traditional ideas about women and who refuses to be under the control of her father and of the family structure. However, by challenging all these rules, Saloua nds herself torn in a society that still sees woman as not equal to man. From the beginning of this movie, we can notice that Laqta focuses on the female body through the different shots and the zoom in to the body of Saloua as in the opening scene where Saloua is caught in indecent clothes. Abdelqader Laqtas movies are known for dealing with females as a sexual body, as Brian T.Edwadrs agrees in his book Morocco Bound that Laqtas lms have been controversial because of their frank treatment of sexuality and their uncompromising look at the less appealing side of Casablanca4. Laqta exploits the female body in order to liberate women and to make them equal to men. The body for laqta is not a taboo; it is rather a way to reconstruct the Moroccan view of the female body. Moreover he aims to spread the culture of freedom of expression. Laura Mulvey points out in her article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema that: The cinema offers a number of possible pleasures. One is scopophilia. There are circumstances in which looking itself is a source of pleasure.5 The female body in Laqtas lms is always present through scenes of nudity which constitutes an essential part of his lmic productions. Mulveys use of scopophilia is applicable to this movie, since the body is widely displayed as to attract the male gaze. Salous body was exposed at the beach, in her bedroom and in many other scenes in which the camera zooms in her body. The body in this movie is used as two ways. On characters within the screen, on the other hand movie, Laqta uses the body of Mouna Fettou and depicts the suffering of women in prison to appeal to the characters in the movie and to and it was the rst lm to visually deals with this issue on screen. The story of the movie is a fusion of the past with the present. It is based on storytelling of the past with some ashbacks. The story is told by Jawhara when she becomes older, and she retells her autobiography, her memories of the past and the life she had with her mother in prison. The movie starts by her voice stating that she wants to write the story of her mother Saa. Saa was a young woman married to a political militant and involved in a political oppositional

movie, we discover that Saloua is challenging the male spectator. 3_Females and political activism: Moroccan cinema has tackled the issue of females in different ways. Apart from the exploitation of the female body in Moroccan cinema, many lms represented women in a positive way as militants, social activists and rebellious. We can take as examples: Kherboucha, Jawhara, Atach.

Hamid Zoughi gives an alternative movement. The story takes place in the image to Moroccan women in his Movie seventies of the last century and it draws Kherboucha, produced in 2010. In this movie, attention to the political activists in the Lead the actress Houda Sedqi plays the role of a years. S h e i k h a c a l l e d H a d a a n d k n ow n a s Kherboucha. Kherboucha used to be a mythical character in the region of Abda in the late 19th Century. After killing all the members of her tribe, Kherboucha stands up to the despotic rule of Lkaid and calls for a rebellion against him and his totalitarian regime. In this movie, Zoughi succeeds in changing the stereotypical image about Sheikhat in our culture, as he depicts the sheikha as a good rebellious woman who ghts to revenge for the genocides committed on her family and tribe. Zoughi chooses to tackle the issue of females and their contribution to resisting the S aa and her husband were performing a play that sheds light on political detention and the questions of forced disappearances in Morocco. Thus, they were arrested with all the members of their group. She was sent to prison where she was tortured physically and psychologically and she was also subjected to rape and sexual harassment by the policemen. Saa discovered that she is pregnant and she had no other choices except giving birth to her child Jawhara in prison and continuing her life in connement. In the two cases of Hada in

power of the Makhzen. He uses the voice and K h e r b o u ch a a n d S a a i n Ja w h a ra , the meaningful songs as a sign of resistance. In lmmakers depict scenes of torture and order to retrieve the rights of her tribe and to suffering of women in order to show to face the tyranny of the ruler, Kherboucha the spectator that Moroccan women are composes a song in which she recounts the strong enough to bear physical and story of her tribe and how the Kaid and his followers exterminated them. The story turns around the use of the female voice and songs not as an erotic object, rather as a way to uncover the atrocities and the crimes

psychological suffering. Women in Jawhara and Kherboucha play a signicant role in resisting the despotic regime and being part of the resistance. This depiction of

committed by Lmakhzen.The movie ends in a women contributes to change the tragic way by Kherboucha buried alive after traditional ideas about females as passive she refused to consent to the laws of Lkaid. From Kherbouchas story which goes back to the late 19th century, we move to women were part of the political opposition at

and docile. Moreover, it helps the society to recognize the role of women in the construction of our Moroccan history.

one hand it is used as an erotic object for the Jawharas story on the lead years and how it is used as erotic object for the spectator that time. Jawhara is directed by Saad Chraibi


In addition to these two movies, for her identity as she begins to learn the nowhere to escape except to the

the movie Atach or Thirst can be added to Koran and she becomes a member of a colonizers space, and when they were the list of movies dealing with women Su brotherhood. Nadia the mystical caught they were lapidated to death as a and the question of patriotism. Attach is character nds relief and peace by punishment for their alignment with the directed by Saad Chraibi and produced in adopting a new life based on the Islamic colonial authorities and as punishment for 2000. This movie tackles the issue of rules. She devotes her house to become a their rebellion against the social status national resistance to the French colonizer Zawya and a shelter for desperate quo, as they were considered as traitors and the struggle over independence in the women. Farida Belyazid tries to depict and as a stigma to their society. To conclude I would like to say that Moroccan lmmaking have dealt with the situation of women in several ways and have provided a wide range of images about women. Those movies have a social realist touch because they tackle contemporary issues in our society and help the society to make a social progress by knowing the weaknesses and the pitfalls in our social structures. I tried to discuss the most essential representations of women in our national cinema and the way lmmakers tackle this issue and deal with women in their cinematic south of Morocco in1954. Mouna Fettou the reality of women and the situation of plays the important role of the lover of a hybridity in which they live, between the nationalist activist, as she herself becomes local culture and the global one, and part of the resistance against the French between Islam and the secularist ideas of colonial authorities. The movie starts by a the West. She also covers an essential voice over narrated by Mena, talking aspect of Moroccan culture which is about the importance of water in our life Womens involvement in the Zawayas and and depicting the atrocities caused by the the Su brotherhoods. Belyazid chooses colonial authorities and their control over to end with Nadia who nally nds all the water sources in that area. 4- Women between the local and the Western cultures: The image of women is not constrained to these two types; we can herself and her roots and succeeds to sever all ties with the Western world, and thus she overcomes her hybrid situation, realizes her real culture and discovers her real identity.

In this regard we can talk also productions. nd many other representations of about Badis, a movie directed by Tazi Moroccan women in movies. Many other produced in 1988 in the same year of lms focus on the emancipation of Door to the sky, and the script was written women and how they are torn between by Belyazid. The story of the movie two worlds, the modern world and the begins with a teacher and his wife leaving traditional world. As in the case of Bab Casablanca towards a remote area in Sma Meftouh or Door to the sky, directed by Elhoceima called Badis, in which the Farida Belyazid in 1988, the story turns Spanish colonizers still occupy a small around a young girl returning home from part of the region. The story turns France and starting a quest for her real around a Rifan girl who lives with her identity. Nadia the protagonist of the father after her Spanish mother movie is caught between two cultures, the abandoned them. Moera and the French culture, as it is obvious in her way teachers wife become friends and decide of clothing and the way she behaves, and to escape from the patriarchal society to her Islamic Moroccan culture that she the colonizers site, since Moera was in seeks to discover throughout the movie. love with a Spanish soldier who promised When Nadia returned home, she was completely Western, in her manners and physical appearance. After the death of her father she starts her journey to look her to help her nding her mother. Badis illustrates the situation of females in rural areas and their suffering from the male dominant society. The lm remains controversial because the two women nd



International Cinematic E-Magazine


Moroccan Cinema: A Real or a Fake Reection of Moroccan Women

Let me just say at the beginning that most of us usually tend to view cinema as a mirror in which different cultural practices are subtly and gently reected, and it is also widely believed that cinema is a kind of historical recording which accurately tapes various cultural, religious, political and social specicities of a given community. But, to what extent can we say that this is really true when it comes to women? Is Cinema or precisely Moroccan cinema a crystal clear mirror in which women presence and situation in the Moroccan society is genuinely represented?! Well this is apparently the core of my presentation. Well, my analysis depends on three popular Moroccan movies namely: Lbortokala Lmorra or the bitter orange, Kism 8 or Class 8 and xshamkar or the ex-homless man. directed by Bouchra Ijorak . The story revolves around Saidia, an ordinary young illiterate woman who nds herself unconditionally in love with Amin. The latter remains unaware of her love, and her plots to make him fall for her. Seemingly, the lm is a romantic adventure that takes its heroine Saidia to a world that is full of diverse possibilities and consequences. Still, what strikes us the most is not the dreamy love story between Amin and Saidia , but the way Saidia as a woman, as a Moroccan woman, is represented, drawn, and viewed in the movie. Saidia is, as mentioned above, an illiterate woman with very humble ambitions and aspirations. She is, apparently, a woman who has chosen to besiege herself within the traditional dreams of having a husband and a family. Her very limited qualications have made her able to surrender everything to make her legal dream come true. The fact that Saidia is represented as an illiterate woman is unsurprisingly revealing. It might be said that, her subservience, and her unconditioned acceptance of male dominance is due to her illiteracy. Bouchra Ijorak is not to be blamed for picturing Saidia, who might be a crystal reection of a great number of Moroccan women, in this very conventional manner. Arguably, illiteracy is a very confusing reality that most Moroccans are obliged to adjust themselves with. Thus, it can be said that Lbortokala Lmorra unravels, to a debatable extent, the components of a society that is profoundly traditional, a society that is, obviously, unable to gloss over the remnants of the old traditional conservative mentalities which potently cherish male dominance, and which remorselessly regard women as mere accessories.

bitter orange is a Moroccan movie

lorem ipsum dolor met set Lbortokala Lmorra or the The quam nunc parum


International Cinematic E-Magazine


In addition to this idea of illiteracy which is clearly highlighted in the movie, Ijoraks heroine recurrently takes sorcery as her absolute refuge. What is really telling is that Her rst step towards her dreams is, ironically, made through witchcraft. The latter is, as it seems, tackled in the movie as an ordinary act that a woman should go through to achieve her goals, that is, supposedly, done through adopting the easiest ways. The comfort, which is highly touched in the way Saidia deals with this whole idea of sorcery, remains a bitter portion in our society just as bitter as the orange might be for Saidia in her love journey. In a nutshell, Ijoraks subtle inclusion of sorcery, which might look perfunctory for some, is in fact a very telling action that represents the Moroccan society with its undeniable bitterness, ignorance, and cruelty. The smooth use of witchcraft in
the movie is probably a reection of its smooth use in reality as well. The rst thing that has come to Saidias mind to win Amins heart is the use of some magic which might facilitate her mission and which may make the man be hers for good. The fact of opting for sorcery or, of thinking of using magic is in itself a clear admission of womens ignorance, stagnation, and an unreecting subordination to untrue practices and occurrences in a society that keeps fuelling inequality and injustice between the two sexes. This might be Ijoraks unheard thoughts. Briey stating, womens reected situation in lbortokala lmorra does not seem delighting at all: illiteracy, sorcery, ignorance, subordination and the like remain potently dominant in Ijoraks womens represented world, the latter is obviously darkened by several foggy wrong practices in the Moroccan society, still, this remains a movie, and taking the story too seriously would be a nave option, thus, questioning Ijoraks ideas about Moroccan women is still a possibility.

The second part of my analysis goes to Ex- Shamkar, the latter is a steamy Moroccan movie written and directed by Mahmoud Frites. The comparison between Lbortokala Lmorra and ExShamkar might give us a feeling that Bouchra Ijorak and Mahmoud Frites belong to two different worlds. Ijoraks movie opens the door of a world that is humble and dreamy; it is apparently a world in which people do possess certain ethics, do respect the teachings of their religion, and do maintain the chains made by society. By contrast, Frites takes us to a dif ferent realm that is

characterized by greed, mostly lust, and passion. Ex-Shamkar narrates the story of a group of homeless friends who suddenly taste the sweetness of a funky life thanks to the hero of the lm Rowayes who becomes a rich man, and who decides to change the bitter reality of his ex friends as well. The journey from homelessness to richness makes the viewer experience a variety of feelings due to pleasant and unpleasant actions in which women take part in a very very debatable way. The representation of women in ExShamkar is shocking to an extreme extent. A woman is, obviously, a mere object to satisfy males thirst to sex. She is, the woman, a happy entity simply for being physically and sexually satised. To be stated clearly, the sexual satisfaction in Ex- Shamkar seems to be males ultimate goal that is repeatedly achieved through womens recurrent availability. An availability that is always assured thanks to Rowayes money. Objectifying women in Frites movie remains a very disturbing fact that a viewer must deal with. Still, it would not be wise to deny Frites successfulness in accurately representing males and females greed and lust in a society that is supposedly a Muslim one. The rst conclusion a watcher of this movie would come with is that women are mere puppets in mens hands If Saidia in Lbortokala Lmorra is a humble woman who enjoys certain ethics, women in Ex-Shamkar seem to enjoy many attributes except ethics. Frites prefers to represent his female characters as greedy, lascivious, and funoriented beings who keep confronting society with its desirable and undesirable chains. It would not be necessary to ask about the possibility of proving that Frites is tensely wrong in giving such attributes to Moroccan women. The Moroccan reality, ironically, accepts the intrusion of several realities. In other words, Ijoraks and Fritess worlds might seem contradictory at the rst glimpse, but a profound look will assuredly unravel the commonness between the two. The last movie in my list is kism 8 or class 8. The lm is directed by Jamal Almajdoub, and I think that it is one of the most successful and popular [23]

Moroccan movies in the last decade. Well, in contrast with Ijoraks and Frites dark representations of Moroccan women, Jamal Belmajdoub seems to enjoy a great sense of optimism when it comes to womens world. Briey stating, Leila, the major character in the movie, and the main reection of Moroccan women as well is depicted or represented as a young, educated, independent and out-standing woman who prefers to confront with the difculties of her professional life by herself, and who succeeds in making a dramatic change in her life and in her pupils life as well. This very joyful representation of women in the movie might not be convincing for some but a slight comparison between Ijoraks, Frites, and Belmajdoubs movies may make us come up with an idea about the situation of women in Moroccan society. What I mean here, is that studying the three movies separately wont lead to a complete idea about womens position and situation in the Moroccan society, by taking the three movies as one entity will certainly create a picture which is at least not foggy. Still, To what extent can we convincingly say that Ijoraks classical love story is a part of a Moroccans woman life? Isnt Saidias unconditioned subservience marked by a childish innocence? To what extent can Frites movie be taken as a real representation of women in Morocco as well? Isnt the two realities represented by Ijorak and Frites decient to a widely noticeable extent?! And to what extent can we say that Leila, Belmajdoubs heroine is a representation of different Leilas in our society. The three movies do apparently represent three highly different realities of one society. Ijorak prefers to touch the wounds of weakness, illiteracy, and ignorance, Frites prefers to take us to the other hidden faade of women in which lust and greed can no more be taken as offence but as clear headlines of a life that is bitter and cruel. Whereas, BELMAjdoub prefers to fuel our souls with much optimism. The three movies are apparently complementary, each movie deals with a specic category certainly found in our society. Still, being convinced with their represented worlds or not remains a matter of debate.


International Cinematic E-Magazine Issue N 5 2013

Reading on Saad Chraibis Women, and Women as an Example of Postcolonial Feminism

Hence, this paper is composed of two sections. The rst one is devoted to a brief discussion of the feminist theory of Bulbeck. The second one seeks to react to Bulbecks assumption by investigating the extent to which the lm reects the position of women in a patriarchal society like Morocco. Does it offer to the western feminism a real image about the Moroccan women in their diversity? feminism, in this instance, would only reproduce imperialist discourses, whose pivotal characters are racial differences and stereotypical prejudices. ChillaBulbeck is an outstanding Australian feminist gure who upholds the re-evaluating of western feminist approach as her book Re-orienting Western Feminism may suggest. From the onset, Bulbeck reveals her disassociation from the orthodox feminism preoccupied largely with sexual freedom and equality. As such, she accentuates on understanding womens diversity in the postcolonial world, as well as questioning the popular image of the other women in the west. An image that is stereotypically constructed and massively diffused by the various veins of media. In rewards, the white feminism is positively represented. In way of brief illustration, if the other woman is represented as ignorant, traditional, poor, family oriented and sexually aberrant and controlled, her western counterpart is conversely construed as educated, modern, as having control over their bodies and sexualities, and the freedom to make their own decision. 2 Hence, it should be remarked once again that the western feminism re-appropriates the prominent mechanism of binary opposition that underlies the imperial ideologies and constitutes an indispensable part of the whites self conception. The core of Bulbecks theory is to contest the eurocentrism of the white feminism that puts itself as the mouth piece of the whole world women. One way of doing this is to explore the intellectual production of the other women which in turn helps to unveil how they live and understand things, to recognize their behavioral reaction to western feminism. Such a journey in the other world would certainlyprovide interesting insights likely to enhance the dominant feminist interpretation of both their true image and

Mr. Abdellah ELBOUBEKRI Email:

B u l b e c k s p o s t c o l o n i a l feminism

It is no accident that the Moroccan nascent feminist project should inherit the moral and ideological precepts underpinning the western feminism given the factor of extreme dependency that dominates the formerly colonized countries. A case in point is the Moroccan cinema that still gover ned by the thematic preoccupations that have in one way or another some reverberation with the French ones. In this respect, the central point of this paper is to explore the representation of women in the Moroccan cinema taking Women, and Women as a case of study in the hope to respond to ChillaBelbecks calls for reorienting western feminism through listening to heterogeneous voices of the other. Yet, it will be evident in the course of the analysis of the movie that only certain luckier voices, incongruous with the cultural specicity of Morocco, are saliently heard. This does not mean that the movie is worthless, since it highlights different facets of womens oppression. The problem is with the implicit focus on a revolutionary journalist who predicts an outlet to women crisis in a bourgeois conception to women.

Feminist theories and politics come and go, ebb and ow, converge and diverge; some reach a considerable popularity, yet never lasting longer. One such reason for such situation is that the universalism claimed by the western feminism is no more than slogans brandished in the various occasions of womens conferences, no more than ink on recurrent journals and papers. Nonetheless, there have been recently serious endeavors to rethink and re-assess the assumptions of the dominant feminism laying much emphasis on the necessity of reconsidering the heterogonous positions of the third world women as a fundamental step to achieve a real universalism.

As a matter of fact, the importance of such initiative is acclaimed if only one is aware of the fact that overriding the other womens voices and perceiving them in terms of homogeneity yields what Mohanty viewed as an always-already constituted group, one which has been labeled powerless, exploited, sexually harassedetc.1 Put differently, the western [25]

Undoubtedly, the task set by Bulbeck is not easily undertaken on the ground that any approach of the other women entails shedding lights on numerous centers from which the local women are depicted. What exacerbates this difculty is the existence of some good deal of marginal centers from within the metropolis. A clear instance of this is an area in London which consists, Robert Young notices, of variable mingling of peoples, whose ancestors hark back to the Caribbean and Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Tibet, Afghanistan.3 Put plainly, the difference is an inherent characteristic of feminism at least with respect to the diverse experiences of oppression. But it is the political consideration which highlights certain difference than the other. Seen in this perspective, race and ethnicity in the case of western feminism are the governing measures for the distinction of white women from the other. To consolidate the division and bolster the status of the white women, a process of homogenization of the other is considered. Yet, Bulbeck rejects rmly this practice supporting her argument by the proposition that within the east itself the possibility of distinction can exist using for instance the criteria of religion or geographies or nationalities or class and profession and so forth and so on. Bulbeck agrees on the existence of some commonalities vis--vis the language and ideas and in structure of unequal power without endorsing the notion of universalism. As a result to the contemporary rise of globalization, Bulbeck denies any clear cut lines between the west and the east as there are no actual boundaries that preclude ideas, goods and even men from moving eastward and westward. This being the case, two intriguing responsibilities are implied here. On the one hand, the western feminism is obligated to forsake its singularity and admit the multiplicity of the other womens experiences. On the other hand, the eastern feminism should challenge the role of passive signied that implicitly imposes what Spivak referred to as the reproduction of the axioms of imperialism whereby third world feminist literature imitate and absorb all what come from the west. In this context, Bulbecks argument reverberates with Spivaks subversion of the worlding of the third world via promoting the emergence of the third world as signier.4 Moving to the Arab feminism, a cursory survey of some cultural forms be they literary, political or sociological publications is sufcient to decipher a sort of copying and recreating of the western feminist discourses. In fact, since its genesis by some Egyptian scholars such as MarqasFahmi in Woman in the East or Qassim Amine in The Liberation of Women and the New Woman, the adoption of the western frame of references is quite clear. Moreover, the western feminist experience constituted a template for the forthcoming conference of the Arab feminism in 1944, under the leadership of HoudaChaarawi, which was greatly welcome by the US and Britain. In Morocco, the movements of women remained uneven, hampered by what MouniaCharrad called the extended patrilineage5 which stems from the post independence faithfulness to the long-standing established Islamic legislation. Notwithstanding, the recent family code promulgated by king Mohamed VI has given an impetus to Moroccan feminism. Yet, drawing on the following investigation of the feminist discourse that pervades the Moroccan lm Women, and Women, it can be said that Bulbecks theory is not solidly supported on the basis that the marginal center Morocco- does not reect the true image of the Moroccan women. Put another way, the lm falls in the trap of duplicating the western feminist trajectories, irrespective of the day-to-day reality of thousands of Moroccan women. It, indeed, buttresses Spivaks argument that the subaltern cannot speak.6 At the same time, it disappoints spivaks pronounced wish, from which Bulbeck derives her thesis, that: Rather than imagining that women automatically have some thing identiable in common, why not say, humbly and practically, my rst obligation in understanding solidarity is to learn her mother-tongue. You will see immediately what the differences are. You will also feel the solidarity every day as you make the attempt to learn the language in which the other woman learnt to recognize reality at her mothers knee. 7 To what extent does the present lm contribute to the dissemination of the true language of Moroccan women? In what voices do they speak? In general, is the feminist project gured in the lm likely to improve the image of women in the mind of the Moroccan audience? All these questions are going to be tackled in the following brief reading on the lm under focus. II. Women, and Women and feminist discourse in Morocco An American visitor in Casablanca observes that the situation of women in Morocco is somewhere between that of women in the west and those in conservative Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia.8 In reality, this is what the general framework of the lm tends to mirror. The viewer is introduced to two kinds of women. One is relatively liberated from the patriarchal connement, and indulges an amount of individualism akin to the western womens. The other is still undergoing the atrocity of the males dominion. The division extends to cover further aspects that color the life of both kinds, including the separation in clothing (jellaba and foulard vs. western suits and skin-tight shirt and mini-skirt,) in professions (about 60 % are in textiles and light industry. Another 10 % or so are femmes demnage9vs. jobs in government ofces, schools and press)


As a synopsis, the lm revolves around four female characters who are still keeping school friendship in spite of the different paths they have

female neighbor that Raytha is divorce, since I depend on my husband on quarrelling with her husband. Very clearly, the present lm aims to securing my childrens livings. Once the mask is removed by Mahjoub under the

pretext of objectivity and truthfulness the cover a variety of situations in in which the victim is severely beaten and taken urgently undertaken. Zakiya is a TV journalist, viewer comes into contact with womens to hospital. One conclusion that can be concerned with issues fundamental to oppressions. Besides, it attempts to treat drawn from this is that in the absence of the status of Moroccan woman and both the physical and symbolic violence economic equality and security, women are the various forms of violence exercised against the female gender. Surprisingly susceptible to patriarchal power. That is against her. Her intrepid personality enough, all the suffering inicted upon why Mernissi thinks that the advocates of stimulates the jealousy of her male women is ascribed to male hostility. In fact, revolution and womens liberation have colleague Mahjoub who succeeds the feminist discourse channeled in the always emphasized the importance of later in getting rid of her after whole lm is compatible with Helene integrating women into tasks of building fabricating many false report to the Cixouss denition of feminism as a and developing the country.12 director. Afterward, she runs a bourgeois egalitarian demand for women womans magazine and dates Idriss, Looked at closely, Women, and to obtain power in the present patriarchal another ideal character preoccupied system a place in the system, respect, Women concentrates on the language of a with the problems that strike the social legitimation.10 There is no reference limited group of women, to whom the new Moroccan society, she meets in the to any sympathetic male with the cause of family code has stressed some more train while coming back from her women save Idress who appears near the importance. Oppressed married women family house in the country side. end. The very opening scene displays a hot represent, nonetheless, a very small Living privately as well is Laila, a boss debate about womens participation in the proportion in comparison with the hard of textile industry, a divorced mother political and socio-economic life. The condition undergone by the major to a small child. She has a boy friend female guest refutes denitely the statement housekeepers, working adolescent girls the called Omar whom she turns down all of the male intervener we (men) permit lm has not accounted of. The latter backs his successive propositions to get her that implicitly echoes a patriarchal the societys silence and non-solidarity married lest she would go through connotation and women subordination. when they usually lose their virginity by another marital disappointment. A The resentful remarks of Mahjoub means of which their dignity and honor are last, she died of a fatal disease. (Fhamatwakhlass) Nonsense! further measured. Once again, Mernissi claims Concerning the other two females, intensies male opposition t o t h e that the responsibility falls always upon they agree on being married and living liberation of women. m a n . Ta k i n g a d va n t a g e s o f t h e i r in poverty. Yet Kaltoum is a school unemployment, poverty, literacy, dark teacher like her spouse, leading insipid Perhaps, it is the father of Zakiya economic future, he seduces them.13 In the life devoid of change and distraction. who incarnates the Moroccan traditional lm, only an old maid Dada is seen in Whereas Raytha is a housewife and patriarchy. Zakiya complains that he the house of Laila. Seemingly, she is the most unfortunate of the four. As a considers the women working on TV and treated as a member of the family. The corollary to the continual beating she living alone in apartment as prostitute. question that can be posed here is it receives from her husband for being Such a lack of understanding, Mernissi possible that dada stands for the barren, she ends up in prison after argues is the result of inequality, an housekeepers in Morocco? And if so, can unsuccessful murder of him. Hence, inequality which continues to ourish she provide a real picture for western the friends arrange with a female where the economic lethargy prevails. 11 feminism to question its stereotypes about lawyer to defend her case. Ironically, Central to male patriarchy also is the the other, and hence support Bulbecks Raythareturns to her husband after inability of a conjugal victim to speak out theory? Certainly not! being released. The lm closes with her ill-treatment, only by masking her the same previous scene: Kalthoum identity that she could reveals her and Zakiya are told by the dumb humiliation saying I cant protest. My economic status does not help me to ask for [27]

In addition, the sexual behaviors, powerlessness. Only then the Moroccan of both Laila and Zakiya can be read as viewers may be ready to listen to the emblematic of the difculty of feminist demands of Laila and Zakiya. recovering the voice of the oppressed s u b j e c t . 14 L i k e L a i l a i n BahaaTrabelsisUne Femme tout Simplement, Laila in the movie conceives her freedom

As an example of postcolonial

cinematic production, Women, and in term of breaching the sexual constraint Women is caught in the horn of of her society. She frequents her beloved Eurocentrism. It remains, borrowing in an apartment she possesses. Because Loomba, dependent upon western she tries to copy the western womans philosophies and modes of seeing, taught mode of thinking and being, she can be largely in the western academy, unable to thought of as subaltern. Laila does not reject convincingly European frames of posit her Moroccan social reality. Under references 17 The neglect of the the effect of the repressive power of females minorities gives birth to a French colonialism and the modern neohegemonic discourse based on class colonialism, she cleaves to an outsider inequality the lm seems to contest. The feminist trend on the belief that it cases of Laila and especially Zakiya, are epitomizes the template for achieving representative of very few women. liberty from male authority. The same is Additionally, the feminist enterprise they true with view to Zakiya; she dates Idriss initiate is at variance with the history of in public places and enjoys his sweetly women in Morocco. It adopts the burden intellectual discussion. Drawing on the of Eurocentric past, without revisiting western mannerism he aids in putting on and living it. When Levi Strauss once her coat each time they are in the caf. incited his people to forget about the idea Although they share mutual admiration, of civilizing the other he was amply no mention of marriage takes place. aware of the uselessness of imitating the They, apparently, embrace the progressive westerners whose unconscious structure ideas that are at loggerhead with ways of receptions and perceptions are in marriage as a traditional Moroccan conict with the easterners. institution and the sole contract for the legitimation of sexual relation.15 In a The present approach of the lm

Charrad, Mounira.States and Women's Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, & Morocco.California: University of California Press, 2001. Chraibi, Saad. Nissae, waNissae (Women, and Women). 1997. Jung, HwaYul. Comparative Political Culture in the Age of Globalization: An Introductory Anthology. Boston: Lexington Books, 2002. Mernissi, Fatima. Womens Rebellion & Islamic Memory. London: Zed Books Ltd., 1996. Moi,Toril. Sexual/Textual Politics: Fe m i n i s t L i t e ra r y T h e o r y . L o n d o n : Mathuen&Co. Ltd., 1985 Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/ Postcolonialism. New York: Routledge,

1998. nutshell, Laila and Zakiya conrm rests just upon some examples germane to Spivaks view that if, in the context of the subject of women in Morocco. It is an Spivak, GayatriChakravorty. Can the colonial production, the subaltern has no invitation to testBulbecks theory. As long Subaltern Speak? Colonial Discourse and history and cannot speak, the subaltern as as economic, political, and intellectual Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader. Ed. Patrick f e m a l e i s e v e n m o r e d e e p l y i n dependency harnesses the third world, the Williams and Laura Chrisman. London: shadow16 latters intellectual spokesmen are liable to Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994. 66-111. In its totality, the lms likelihood reproduce the wester n discourse, hampering chances to bring the TrabelsiBahaa. Unefemme toutsimplement.

to generate the sympathy of Moroccan Casablanca :Eddif, 1995. Moroccan cultural specicities to the fore. mainstream audience is not sure. At any rate, this audience is not fully represented and that it is improbable that they would identify with the female actors. Rather than probing into instances of symbolic violence against female gender, the lm

Works Cited

Bulbeck, Chilla. Re-orienting Western ought to have given opportunity to the Feminisms: Women's Diversity in a Postcolonial housekeepers, jobless widows, rural World. Cambridge: Cambridge University women, and the rest of minorities to Press, 1997. voice out their marginalization and

Afternoon Second Panel: Screening Society in the Moroccan Cinema (Moderator: Mohammed BELBACHA)



January 2013



Challenging the Agents of Patriarchy in the Moroccan Film Ain Nssa

back carrying heavy pails of water that usually leads to frequent and recurrent miscarriages subjecting women to accusations of sterility and threats by their husbands of repudiation or taking another wife: Women in a marginalized rural village somewhere between the North of Africa and the Middle East, go on a sex strike to protest having to search water from a distant source. The arduous trek up the mountain and back carrying heavy pails of water leads to frequent miscarriages, subjecting women to accusations of sterility and threats by their husbands of repudiation or taking another wife1. This lm is a must-see for anyone interested in going beyond stereotypes and understanding contemporary realities of womens lives in North Africa. Here in the lm, women use sex as a pressure tool to challenge mens domination over women. Also, the lm conveys the idea that water and women are source of power, love, reform and human rights. In their aforementioned article, Stephanie Willman Bordat and Saida Kouzzi, and Houda Benmbarek claim that Ain Nssa effectively weaves together a host of hot issues those contemporary North African societies are grappling and struggling with such as economic development, womens rights, unemployment, girls education, the impact of foreign television, conicts between generations, the g rowing popularity of religious extremism, and States failure to provide basic public services:

The Source (French: La Source des femmes) is a 2011 comedy lm directed by Radu Mihileanu, starring Lela Bekhti and Hafsia Herzi. Set in a remote village in North Africa, the story largely focuses on women who go on a sex strike against having to fetch water from a distant place. It shed light on womens marginalization and subordination in the middle of frontiers that are constructed by the patriarchal doxa; The Source perfectly demonstrates the uphill battle of equality. In other words, the story is about some young women in a totally marginalized rural village that is situated somewhere between North of Africa and the Middle East go on a sex strike to protest having to search water from a distant source. In other words, it is about backbreaking journey up to the mountain and come

T he Source successfully weaves together a host of hot issues that contemporary North African society in transition is grappling with economic development, womens rights, u n e m p l o y m e n t , g i r l s education, the impact of foreign television, conicts between generations, the g rowing popularity of religious extremism, and States failure to provide basic public services. It depicts the tensions and negotiations around the competing imperatives of tradition and modernity. The womens campaign to bring water to their village illustrates advocacy strategies for change. And nally, it tackles evolving malefemale relationships and the struggle to redene them based on love and equality.2

deter mination and personal convection. Like and wise, The Source stresses the importance for individuals to nd their inner strength and ght for their beliefs: The Source is undoubtedly a lm about the need for sexual equality; it is also a love story. The extremely tender drawn-out sex scene between Leila and Sami is almost more of a climax than news of the strike's eventual success. Exploring themes of injustice, sexism, determination and personal conviction, The Source underlines the importance for individuals to nd their inner strength and ght for their beliefs.3 The women adopt Leilas tactic. Happy marriages become tortured, sometimes violent. The village men are hurt and offended. The women, some consumed with guilt and longing, begin to question their strike. Meanwhile, the very social foundations of this village, governed by religion and tradition, begin to look shaky as the strike forces the men and women into a conict over every aspect of their lives.

isolated space. In this village, as a masculinzed space, women are relegated to the margins of society. Here, women frequently attempt to break through these patriarchal borders in multiple ways to inltrate those forbidden spaces. The plot offers a cinematic mix of sex, religion and politics. The lm has a socio-political content; it deals with a sensitive subject. It has symbolic and emblematical meanings, especially in this political historical stage, the stage of the spring of peoples, though it starts with the touch of poor folk drama. Another explanation of the lm is that Morocco uses the latest technology products, while it is still dominated by the outdated and obsolete patriarchal mentality.

Work Cited:
Tephanie Willman Bordat and Saida Kouzz. The Source: a Story of Moroccan Women Going on Sex Strike to Protest for Living Conditions. Morocco World News :New York, June 3, 2012. Retreived from :

( 2012/06/42875/the-source-a-story-ofmoroccan-women-going-on-sex-strike-toprotest-for-living-conditions/). Accessed on November 30th, 2012. At 09:00 am.

Despite condemnation by the Sheikh, Imam and the rest of the burg's outraged men, the ladies maintain their resolve, even to the point of enduring physical and psychological maltreatment. Their rebellion is totally voiced in several kitschy song-and-dance numbers and eventually expands to encompass aspirations for equal rights in education, mosque and home. The Source is indisputably a movie about the urgent need for gender equality. More importantly, it explores themes of injustice, sexism,

DVD Review: The Source Wednesday, 18 July 2012 17:55 | by Leo Owen . Retrieved The Hammam scene is remarkably from ( signicant in the lm; it is the almost 201207182715/reviews/dvd-review-theobligatory scene in North-African texts and source.html). Accessed on 05/12/2012 at 15:02

lms. It is a sexually segregated space in

which no members of the opposite sex are allowed to enter. In the Hammam women are liberated from the socially determined corporality. Also, they are freed from the social policing of their bodies and from the limiting sexual roles set by society for them. In other words, the women, in the Hammam, nd a refuge from the corrosive prejudices of society and from the threats posed to her in the body politic. Ain Nssa ostensibly intends to portray the wretched lives of women in the



January 2013


Recently, the country's cultural
Hanae BELHASSANI e-mail:

An Introduction

policy has changed (especially under the leadership of the International Film Festival of Marrakech), Morocco has just acquired a brand new lm industry. Nowadays, Moroccan cinema rose and

Moroccan cinema encompasses both lms, television and lm productions produced in Morocco. In contrast to other cinemas of Europe and the Maghreb, the Moroccan state has long left the cinema trying by itself to nd the necessary means to its survival and development nationally and internationally. French protectorate of Morocco (1912-1956) had established a censorship board that has survived until independence. This regulator and until the seventies was mainly concerned with the control of the distribution of foreign lms especially that the domestic production was still low compared to that of the Francophone countries. In this way, Morocco has left the eld open to other cinemas competitors who have asserted easily with the Moroccan public, and now must deal with several years of delay. It is the same for other artistic elds such as music, for example.

m a ny p ro s p e c t s l o o k p ro m i s i n g, Moroccan cinema is increasingly selected and / or winning in Arab, African and Western festivals, which encourages more young people to embark on a career in the 7th Art. We nd at the national level directors who have their place in the cinema industry: Hamid Bennani (Wechma, Traces, 1970), Souheil Ben Barka (The Thousand and One Hand, 1974) Moumen Smihi (El Chergui or violent Silence, 1975) Ahmed El MAANOUNI (Alyam, Alyam 1978; Trances (Al Hal) 1981, The Hearts burned, 2007) Jilali Ferhati (Dolls reed, 1981; beach of Lost Children, 1991), Farida Benlyazd (A deals sky, 1988), Saad Chraibi (Chronicle of a normal life, 1990), Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi (Badis, 1989 in search of the husband of my wife, 1993), Abdelkader Lagta (a Love in Casablanca, 1992, the closed door, Hakim Noury (the Hammer and the

Anvil, 1990), Hassan Benjelloun (Feast of others, 1990). In recent years, young lmmakers have revolutionized the Moroccan cinema. Among these we include the director Nabil Ayouch or Narjiss Nejjar, Bensadi Faouzi, NourEddine Lakhmari, Laila Marrakchi. Year after year we notice that Moroccan cinema could detach itself from the colonial legacy after independence. One nds it difcult to talk about the beginnings of Cinema in Morocco; in the sense that it is not clear whether it dates back to the pre ofcial appearance of Cinema in 1896 namely to the detective lm: Al-Fariss al-Barbari (The Berber Knight) made by Jules Etiennes Marey using the chronophotography technique, or to the period between 1895 and 1905 that is the time in which the Viewers Catalogue was gathered; it belongs to the French company Lumire, about 1800 short lm were made by the company at that time, including about 60 lms on North Africa, only one lm on Morocco entitled Rai al-maiz alMaghribi (The Moroccan Goat Herder). But are we talking about Moroccan lms here? This kind of lm represents the natives as the Other, a static object that ts the decoration and background.

January 2013

A s it was said before the beginnings of cinea in Morocco are unclair but it was conrmed that the history of cinema in Morocco are divided into three periods. The rst period was between 1897 and the First World War. It was the advent of cinema, starting with lming documentaries. The second period is that of colonial cinema, cinema of propaganda of course, but also cinema of entertainment for metropolitan-based on exoticism. This colonial cinema experienced a rst major success in 1921 with Atlantis, an achievement that brought capital and commercial companies. About thirty-ve lms of this type were made in Morocco. Militaristes, atteurs de lidentit franaise (in English : Militaristic, attering French identity, these lms show "North Africans who appear as beings oating in space without history and culture. They are beings of absence that are shown only to better develop the occupant. They experience the story instead of doing it, and operate more like a decoration than real characters. concequently , this did not allows Moroccan cinema to develop. To explain more, the criteria of a Moroccan lm are not reduced in lming a lm in Morocco with a Moroccan dcor, nor in engaging Moroccan actors about whom we know only their names, nor through tackling Moroccan-like themes, these are only lms made by foreigners in Morocco, far from the reality of Morocco. What is worth calling a Moroccan lm is rather made by a Moroccan director who portrays the reality of Morocco from an internal perspective, not a superior one, starting from the lived reality not the eroticized one which serves a particular colonial

agenda looking to the natives as primitive, savage and exotic. When the French photographer and journalist, Flix Mesguich, came to Casablanca at the period when it was being attacked by the French colonial forces he stated that when we reached [Casablanca through the sea] the smoke was rising from the city because of the bombings. A sailors group led us to the French consulate. I photographed some scenes of the soldiers in the deserted streets covered by dead bodies, from which a fetid smell rose with clouds of ies. Clearly, from this description, the view expressed by Mesguich is the colonial gaze; the city that is burning does not make him feel a sense of disapproval, it is just like the fetid smell of the Moroccan citizens dead bodies.The quote shows how proud the French photographer is lming these Moroccan dead soldiers while he is protected by the French consulate. The gaze of the French occupation to Casablanca would have certainly been different if a Moroccan photographer was behind the camera, picturing what had been done to the Moroccans for their legal resistance F or France and the West Morocco had a bad image; therefore, its image remained the same in the colonial c i n e m a , p e r p e t u at i n g t h e s a m e stereotypes about the natives and their inferiorityvis--visthe superior West. France attempted, following the Second World War, to establish a Moroccan cinema, supervised and directed by French cinematographers and addresses Moroccan stories cooperated by Moroccan actors. Here, too, we could not talk about Moroccan Cinema, as long as it was only a diversication of the colonial orientation of cinema in Morocco; for

this Moroccan Cinema was considered (under colonization). The colonial cinema left clear scars on Moroccan Cinema, since the former is an essential phase of the latter. Colonial lms cannot be considered or included within Moroccan Cinema, simply because the former marginalizes, and other times it distorts, everything that is Moroccan. In addition, Colonial Cinema was largely targeting a Western audience. We come to the conclusion that it was not possible to talk about a Moroccan Cinema unless it could detach itself from the colonial heritage and moves forward. But it is of importance to mention that at that time Morocco was one of the arab countries best equipped. Studios were located in Casablanca in 1939, in Rabat in 1944. A well-organized network of cinemas covers all urbanized areas. The Protectorate has been represented at Cannes in 1952 by Orson Welles and Othello. However, many productions are of lesser quality, inspired by Egyptian productions rehabilitated, such as "The cursed son" of Mohamed Ousfour in 1958. The third period is the period of founding a true independent Moroccan cinema. It was not until 1968 that Mohammed Tazi paved the way to new lm makers to found the classical era of Moroccan cinema: Moumen Smihi (Traces - 1970), Habib Bennani (Wechma- 1970) Souheil Benbarka (Mille et une mains - 1972), Jillali Fe h r at i (Poupes de roseau-1981),Mohammed Reggab (le coiffeur du quartier des pauvres-1982). These directors presented the Moroccan cinema and gave it a sense nobility.



List of challenges for the twentyrst century Moroccan cinema:

-Improvement of makeup, costumes, props, etc..

-To use its audience abroad (Diaspora) and its well known actors who

-Provide the public with a can ensure the export of Moroccan cinema which represent them Moroccan cinema to -Produce lms of historical the West.

-As happened to many cinemas, ction, action and fantasy Moroccan cinema must nd ways to -Produce lms for children and attract the public to the Moroccan rooms. adolescents. -Increase the size of the middle class and increase the average income of cultural products. As a kind of solution Morocco is the population to become consumers of trying to: - Encourages the establishment To sum up Morocco has a long lm culture and history, and is home to one of the biggest lm studios in the


world attracting lm producers -Fight against digital piracy of companies specialized in multimedia internationally. and new technologies of information and

Today, Morocco offers the -Improve the status of the artists communication (Games, Computer opportunity to produce lots of lms, graphics, Internet ADSL ...) and copyright -Create derivative works (posters, soundtrack CD, etc.). - Cooperate with experienced inspired by the country's geography and professional lm industry standards and T-Shirt, with bonus DVD, gurines, foreign productions

facilities. Each year the International Film -To be home to a Western Festival of Marrakech (FIFM) is held in - D e v e l o p a n a t i o n a l a n d population (pensioners, businessmen ...) December hosting top international titles. international communication offensive which may attract foreign channels of Many well-known lms have distribution of Cinema and Arts. (band ads, promotion, etc.). been produced in Morocco such as -Encourages the writers whose -Create commercial websites for 'Lawrence of Arabia', in 1962 through to the public to view the works on demand. books in the future may be subjects of 'Gladiator' starring Russel Crowe, 1990s, movies. other well known movies lmed in -Improve the quality of lm -To be both an Arab, Berber and Morocco include Black Hawk Down, music African country close to Europe Mummy Returns, Dune, and The Man -Incorporate new tools -Use its wealth of tales and who would be King. audiovisual works (graphics, 3D, special legends effects, etc. ..) -To be a country where many -Facing competition from movies foreign lms have been produced (Syrian, Indian, Egyptian, American and European).


Mohammed First University Space and Culture PhD Students Oujda, Morocco

International Cinematic E-Magazine

Youssef HARRAK Email:

Moroccan Cinema: The Expectation of the Audience and the Stagnation of the Intellectuals

Ever since I started reading about M o ro c c a n c i n e m a , I h ave b e e n enthusiastic in my intention to three things: representing living communities anthropologically, illustrating photographs as something living and breathing, and inducing entertainment. Moroccan cineastes have been struggling to achieve these criteria since 1956. However, achieving these purposes necessitates a vigorous sociological knowledge, which means go deeply into the tiny issues of society and scrutiny the nature of ones society and audience. Such observation may help in avoiding routine in movies and taking the directors out of their cultural crisis: Moroccan directors have almost failed in surpassing the traditional

cinema as a stimuli which inspires and motivates audience? The weakness and decency of Moroccan movies points to the intellectual contribution to lmmaking in morocco. Writing has proved to be signicant in the production of good movies. A fruitful storyline, an attention grabbing event, and a useful element of fun are the most outstanding characteristics of both a good novel and a remarkable movie. The question is: to what extent do Moroccan intellectuals contribute to the production of movies?

The emergence of cinema has given a new perception to the theatrical work. Drama or stage-acting was the main source of entertainment before the emergence of cinema ( According to the public agreement this kind of performances were rst appeared in Greek; a land which deserves to be called the mother of the theatrical work and philosophy ( Movies or cinema, as it is wellknown, illustrate the political and social worlds for us and it is possible to say that cinema is necessary in our lives. Most of the populations of the world cannot neglect the act of illustrating and making sense of the world they inhabit as well as they cannot live without entertainment and knowledge. Yet, illustrating ones social and political life, let it be said, does not always mean bringing pleasure and relaxation to audience (


Cinema is an inuential, signicant and valuable means of communication, and most of the recent considerations of cinema indicate its e s s e n t i a l ro l e i n e d u c a t i n g a n d entertaining people of different ages. The history of cinema has beneted from the immense developments of technology.

ipsum dolor met set view lorem of Moroccan society as a passive quam parum cineastes audience. So,nunc do Moroccan
consider intentionality and acceptability in their movies? And do they consider


International Cinematic E-Magazine

I. Cinema: Entertainment, Education and Knowledge. It has been said that we go to the movies to fall in love. We know that is true and we fall in love regularly with an enormous screen there in the dark. But we also go to the movies to get wisdom about how life works, to predict the future, to learn how to see what is over the next hill, and what is down the next road. (F. S. Pittman, 2010:17). W ith regard to Moroccan cinema, I can say that there is a lot of work to be done. The rst thing is to consider its audience as a human being; that is to address its mind not its feelings and lusts. To take this argument one step further, I can argue that human beings are reasonable creatures and their extreme purpose is to reach happiness. Alongside, though feelings and lusts are important in human life, they do not help in progress and development and it is unlikely for them to bring happiness. To the contrast, thinking contributes to the process of development. Thus t h r o u g h e n c o u r a g i n g t h i n k i n g, Moroccan cinema can give an opportunity to the whole generation to be on the best side of life. However, if Moroccan cinema keeps encouraging taboo, most of the coming generations will be morally and ethically destroyed. As it is well-known, the essence of any society is ethics; the absence of ethics means destruction and death. So, Moroccan lmmakers have to choose between the progress and death of the Moroccan nation. For me, any kind of cinema which does not stimulate thinking is a bad cinema; and any rigorous consideration of feelings and lusts in cinema represents a direct call for b e w i l d e r m e n t o f t h e a u d i e n c e. Therefore to avoid the indulgence of Moroccan youth, if not that of the whole society, Moroccan cinema has to target the conscious part in the audience. To achieve this purpose there should be clear cut criteria of intentionality in Moroccan cinema. I can dene intentionality, in the eld of cinema, as

the inner message of each movie. The problem is in the form, content and purpose of the message. The question is: what this message should be about? It is undoubtedly true that the message of each movie evokes strong emotional responses; that is to say the interaction of audiences with cinema is oversized and sometimes it affects the way they perceive the world. Here, more than any other type of media, cinema stimulates new ways in to new subjects, ctional events and taboo.
II. Film Adaptation in Morocco. Writing and lmmaking meet as practices of creation in the contact zone of entertainment, education and innovation. This is the place where a lmmaker and novelist, who are normally separated, come together and create constant relationships. This contact zone has proved to be fruitful to both of the literary domain and cinema and it is getting larger continuously, at least abroad. It is abundantly clear from the transformation of written works to feature lms that the relationship between literary writings and lmmaking is getting healthier. The most outstanding and famous form of lm adaptation is the transformation of novels into lms. Here, much more than in ction, the outcome of adaptation takes the form of an autobiography or historical events. Though many of the differences between a written text and its adaptation are inescapable, resulting from the shift from the obligatory aesthetics of writing to the amazing scenes of cinema, literary writing is dependable in lmmaking. The power or the motion pictures as an instrument of culture and education is immeasurable. We know that a motion picture based on a classical novel will induce thousands of people to read Or reread the book; the introduction of a classical composition into the picture stimulates the demand for recording of that composition. ( Moroccan cinema requires literary support from intellectuals. It is in cinema where the workings of the intellectual can be strongly visible. For example, a novel with a good storyline and puzzling climax can be transformed into a signicant lm. In particular, Moroccan cinema is in need to sociological writings which can present a true Moroccan lifestyle and deal with the thorny issues of Moroccan society. The deeper a

novel goes to the tiny issues of the Moroccan society, the better the lm will be. The type of writings that Moroccan cinema may benet from is the one which is richly symbolic and those which include an enlightening message or a story to tell. For instance, we can think of the works of Abdellah Laroui Awrak / Papers and Moubarak RabiE Rih Chatouiya / Wintery Wind. Also effective are the writings which include some denite strong points because the potential spectators will respond with certain emotions. These emotions are expressed towards lm characters and events with a kind of affection and enthusiasm. That is spectators are called for to consume and share everything which belongs to cinema. In the process of turning such novels or short stories into lms, some visual tricks can be added to bring to life the writers prose/ narration. Of course, these additions have to be used uniformly. Part of the responsibility for the vulnerability of the Moroccan cinema belongs to the Moroccan elite. For, who is supposed to understand the needs and the requirements of the audience if not the elite? It is true that the rate of reading has to be high to encourage writing, but it is also possible to write for the sake of lmmaking. At this point, we have to confess that there is almost no writings which aim at lmmaking in Morocco. The point is that award or money is not to be thought of as essential. It has to be regarded as a payment for a new pen to produce another literary work. The true intellectual is supposed to think and rethink; s/he has to work for the good of his/ her nation and population. F i l m a d a p t at i o n m e a n s t h e presence of narration in the lm and the presence of narration in a movie illustrates its ability to attract the attention of its audience. The inclusion of a series of events in some cause and effect order justies the existence of a wonderful storyline in the lm. In some cases, however, lm adaptation will not stick closely to the literary writing. The invention of new characters may take place and it is possible for new scenes to be added. This happens repeatedly when the novel is part of a literary work. Additionally, and far more controversially, lmmakers will invent new characters or create stories that were not present in the source material (

Film and Ideology Virtually every movie presents us with ways of behaving--negative and positive-- and therefore offers us an implied or explicit morality or ideology. Every lm has a slant based on the director's sense of right and wrong--an ideological perspective that privileges certain characters, institutions, and cultures. ( First of all, ideology is a word that evokes strong emotional responses (Michael Freeden, 2003:1), and cinema has been serving ideologies since its emergence. The main question which can be asked here is how can Moroccan cinema serve our national principles such as unity and religion? Any answer to this question must be up to time because everything is going to be overwhelmingly affected by the speed of globalization. As a result of this, Moroccan lmmakers should benet from the role of pictures, signs and logos. Michael Freedon, a professor of politics at the U n i ve r s i t y o f O x f o r d , s t a t e s t h a t throughout history ideologies have been transmitted through visual and pictorial for ms (Michael Freedon, 2003: 115) . Therefore, I suggest that it will be useful for Moroccan lmmakers to benet from everything which can serve as a positive ideology. For instance, the Moroccan slogan Do not Touch my Country (matkissh bladdi) radiates national jealousy. In this regard, any lm which has succeeded in inducing national rigorous feelings is a good lm. Alongside, there are other clothes such as jellaba and kafttan which can enhance our cultural heritage, specialists in Moroccan cinema and culture can nd some other useful examples relevant to this subject. These images or symbols should be represented as an anchor or a base for the protection of Moroccan identity. In this case, we have to remember that we live in the battleeld of icons and signs and if Moroccan lmmakers neglect the tiny elements of our culture there will be a threat to our identity. The essential question is: how can Moroccan cinema protect Moroccan identity? Besides, sometimes a lm can supply false ideas and concepts. Indulgence, bewilderment and psychological troubles are the nearest results of such lms. A less severe example will be the lm whose main plot is

the innite love and happiness. By this I would like to say to the Moroccan lmmakers: stop selling illusion and false impression to the youth. Nevertheless, it may seem to you that I am more idealistic or realistic, but how can we treat our social diseases if we do not make an exact prescription, and who is supposed to prescribe the sociological problems of our country if not the intellectuals? This is another question for Moroccan intellectuals. N eg l e c t e d To p i c s i n M o ro c c a n Cinema It has been said that we go to the cinema in order to discover our cultural heritage. We know that is true, but there are some elements in our cultural heritage which seem to be absent in Moroccan cinema. One of these topics is sophism and the role of religious brotherhood/ Zawaya. Interestingly, peoples knowledge about these Zawaya is l i m i t e d a n d t h ey h ave m i s l e a d i n g information about it. Most of Moroccan people do not know its role in bringing selfstability and spiritual rest. Rather, these methods of sophism are effective and their effect on youth is better than that of hamburger or hip hop. In this case, to avoid the fact of being more conservative, I must confess that cinema has thrown down barriers of time and space; it has made man p u r e l y cosmopolitan ( However, this does not oblige us to consume whatever kind of product of others. Rather, if we are really proud of our culture, we have to defend it with the possible means we have got. When we use a pure Moroccan

cinema. The question is: how can Moroccan cinema refute false consciousness? For me any Moroccan who believes in family disunity has undergone a false consciousness. Simply, he has convinced himself of something against himself. For, the drawbacks of family disunity are almost the same as those of homelessness whereas the advantages of family unity are remarkable. Unfortunately, it is not an easy task to draw the attention of Moroccan lmmakers to such illuminating topics.


All that I have said above can be summarized in two umbrella ideas. The rst point is that Moroccan cinema has to be constructed, performed and dealt with by Moroccan citizens. The second point has to do with the type of production; what kind of cinema do Moroccans need? This questions which has to be answered not only by lmmakers, but also by the Moroccan intellectuals. When it comes to the role of intellectuals, I do not feel hesitant to put emphasis on their widest role of giving instructions and supplying studies. It is Moroccan intellectuals who are supposed to propose the guidelines for Moroccan cinema and it is Moroccan audiences who are supposed to refuse or accept the supposed cinema. Finally, writing is of outstanding signicance to lmmaking in Morocco because it possesses the likelihood of improving the quality of Moroccan lms as well as it may push them to wine national and international respect if not rewards. Here, I would like to address the young audience by saying that there is no cinema if it does not speak ethics.

culture in our cinema, we are not only telling Moroccan audience the truth, but defending and ghting against the indecent assault of other cultures on our society. Another subject which seems to be

-Freedon, Mechael. Ideology: a Very Short Introduction. (London; Routledge, 2003). -( -(

totally absent in Moroccan cinema is the concept of family. Despite the growing phenomenon of family disunity in Moroccan society, Moroccan lmmakers are still unconscious of it. I think keeping safe or protecting some very old traditional concepts is a challenge for Moroccan


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