Morocco Literature and Cinematography

Literature. – Contemporary Moroccan literature is made up of different souls that coincide, intertwining, with the different linguistic expressions of the country, Arabic, Amazigh, or Berber, and French. In the 20th century. the rich classical heritage has mixed with the avant-gardes, and the eclecticism of the literary landscape has remained intact even into the 21st century. Although Morocco did not experience, in 2011, a ‘spring’ similar to those that shocked other Arab countries, there were waves of protests and public demonstrations, in addition to the birth of movements such as Ḥarakat 20 fibrāyr / Mouvement du 20 février, a coalition that has been able to concentrate dissidents, but also political forces and associations from civil society among its ranks. A skilful anticipatory policy of the sovereign Mohammed VI succeeded,

This is the case of Abdellatif Laâbi (b. 1942) who, despite being exiled to France, continues to be very present in the public life of his country. Poet, novelist, French-speaking playwright, one of the founders in the 1960s of the historic magazine «Souffles», in 2009 he was awarded the Goncourt prize for poetry and, in 2011, the Grand prix de la francophonie of the Académie française. Among his collections, whose main themes are the struggle for justice and freedom, are Écris la vie (2005), Mon cher double (2007), Tribulations d’un rêveur attitré (2008), Zone de turbulences (2012). Laâbi is also the author of some novels such as Le livre imprévu (2010) and autobiography Le fond de la jarre (2002). Among the major exponents of poetry in Arabic is Muḥammad Bannīs (b.1948), representative of the poetic avant-garde and supporter of innovation and experimentation, who theorizes the need for verses that are an occasion for contestation, but also moments of dialogue not only between East and West, but also between the different natures of the Arab-Islamic civilization, that of the Mashreq, the Near East, and that of the Maghreb. His most recent publications include the collections Sab ῾at ṭuyūr (2011, Seven Birds), Haḏā al-azraq (2015, This Blue), and the critical essay al-Ḥaqq fī᾽l-ši῾r (2006, The right to poetry). To the next generation belongs a group of poets who introduced the genre of prose poetry in Morocco characterizing it with a postmodern language and spirit: the group includes Ǧalāl alḤakmāwī (n.1957), Maḥmūd ῾Abd al-Ġanī (n. 1967), ῾Abd al-Ilāh Ṣalḥī (b.1968), Ḥasan al-Wazzānī (b.1970), Yāsīn ῾Adnān (b.1970). To these poets are added the voices of Būǧum῾ah al-῾Awfī (b.1961), author of a poem at first but visionary then more interested in the daily dimension of existence, as well as Ḥasan Naǧmī (b.1959), Muḥammad Baškār (b. 1969), and to the poetesses Fātiḥah Muršīd (b. 1958), Wafā᾽ al-῾Umrānī (b. 1960) and Amīnah alBakūrī (b. 1969).

The narrative in Arabic, after the death of Mu ḥammad Zafzāf (1943-2001), features prominent personalities including Muḥammad Barrādah (b.1938), writer and literary theorist, who elaborates an experimental novel in which a particular attention it is directed, rather than to the plot, to the individual scenes, to descriptive moments, to the author’s personal reflections on the concepts of time and memory, and on the nature of the creative experience. Among his latest works Imra ᾽at al-nisyān (2002, The woman of oblivion), Ḥayawāt mutaǧāwirah (2009, Lives close), focused on the contradictions of contemporary society, and Ba῾īdan min al-ḍawḍā᾽, qarīban min al -sukāt (2014, Far from the clamor, close to silence) in which he retraces the history of Morocco from independence through the stories of four characters belonging to different generations. Philosopher, storyteller and poet, Binsālim Ḥimmīš (b.1948), Minister of Culture between 2009 and 2012, intertwines the history of Arab thought with reflections on contemporary society in his novels. He came to fame with al-῾Allāmah (1997; trans. It. The novel by Ibn Khaldun, 2005), the fictional story of the philosopher Ibn Ḫal dūn (1332-1406). This was followed by Zahrat al-Ǧāhiliyyah (2004, The flower of the pre-Islamic era), Haḏā al-andalusī (2007, This Andalusian), on the life of the Muslim mystic Ibn Sab῾īn (1217-1269), Mu῾aḏḏibatī (2010, My torturer), in which the author reproduces the experience of an innocent man in an American prison. HIM MIS is also the author of essays al-Arab al-Islam wa al-Maraya fī istišrāq (2011, The Arabs and Islam in the mirror of Orientalism), An sīratī Ibn Battutah wa Ibn Haldun (2014, On my autobiography: Ibn Baṭṭūṭah and Ibn Ḫaldūn). Muḥammad al-Aš῾arī (b.1951) received, in 2011, the International prize for Arabic fiction (IPAF) for the novel al-Qaws wa al-farāšah (2010; trans. It. The bow and the butterfly, 2012), in which he deals with the theme of Islamic terrorism and presents a reinterpretation of the so-called years of lead marked by strong political repression, whose peak is the 1960s-1970s. To these are added Yūsuf Fāḍil (b.1949), ῾Abd al-Raḥīm Laḥbībī (b.1950), Layla Abū Zayn (b.1950), as well as the French-speaking Anouar Benmalek (b.1956), Rajae Benchemsi (b.1957)), Mahi Binebine (b.1959), Youssouf Amine Elalamy (b.1961), Abdellah Taïa (b.1973). The best-known Amazigh-language writers are the poets Ali Azaykou (1942-2004), Mohamed el-Moustaoui (b.1943) and Mohamed Akounad (b.1950).

Cinema. – Moroccan cinematography – which developed at the end of the 1960s and found a plurality of voices to represent social and historical issues both from the point of view of an auteur cinema and from that of a product attentive to commercial needs – has been enriched, from the beginning of the 21st century, of significant works by emerging filmmakers as well as established directors.

The main exponent of the new Moroccan cinema was Faouzi Bensaïdi, inventor of a poetics of disorientation and solitude and a rigorous exploration of space and genres. The originality expressed in the debut film Mille mois (2003; A thousand months) was confirmed in the subsequent WWW – What a Wonderful World (2006), love and death in Casablanca with references to Jacques Tati, and Baya al maut (2011, known as Mort à vendre ), noir and melodrama in the streets of Tetouan. Also known for his acting career, Bensaïdi has starred in his own films and in the works of others, including Goodbye Morocco (2012) by compatriot Nadir Moknèche and Saint Laurent (2014) by Bertrand Bonello. For Morocco 2002, please check

Laïla Marrakchi and Leila Kilani recounted female characters and the lively and tormented years of adolescence and youth respectively in Marock (2005), where the title merges the words Morocco and rock, and in Sur la planche (2011). Previously, Kilani had made two remarkable documentaries: Tanger, le rêve des brûleurs (2003), on young people trying to escape to Europe, and Nos lieux interdits (2008), on dissidents who disappeared in the 1970s and 1980s. Music, metal played by a band convicted of Satanism, is also at the center of Ahmed Boulane ‘s Malaykatou chaytan (2007, known as Les anges de Satan).

Although with less convincing results than her other works, Jillali Ferhati continued to describe characters linked by intense relationships in Des l’aube (2010) and Sarirou al assrar (2013, known as Pillow secrets). Historical names are also those of Daoud Aoulad-Syad and Nabil Ayouch. The first built a personal reflection on cinema with Fi intidar Pasolini (2007, Aspettando Pasolini) and A jamaâ (2010, La moschea). The second, before Les chevaux de Dieu (2012), about the suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, had shot the sensual musical drama Whatever Lola wants (2007). With Much loved (2015), an intimate and at the same time political film, censored in Morocco, Ayouch talked about prostitution and machismo.

Talented new directors have directed courageous, if sometimes unsolved films. By Saïd C. Naciri is the adventurous and postmodern western Kanyamakan (2014). With the autobiographical first work L’armée du salut (2013) Abdellah Taia spoke of homosexuality, while the writer and photographer Tala Hadid made her debut with Itar el-layl (2014, known as The narrow frame of midnight), existential in today’s Arab world from the Maghreb to the Middle East.

Moroccan cinematography

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