9 of the Best Moroccan Films of All Time

These film festival favourites need to be on your watch list

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When it comes to the film industry, Morocco isn’t just home to countless Hollywood film sets (from Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator to Game of Thrones) it’s also home to it’s own equally impressive film industry, to have been filmed there. 

If you’re not already familiar, these are the best Moroccan films to get acquainted with.

Adam

AdamMyriam Touzani’s Adam was surrounded by Oscar buzz upon its release in 2019, and for good reason. The film tells the story of Samia, a young woman who finds herself pregnant out of wedlock and is taken in by a widow in a Moroccan village. 

Horses of God

Horses of GodBased on Moroccan writer Mahi Binebine’s novel The Stars of Sidi Moumen, Nabil Ayouch’s 2012 feature film Horses of God takes a deep look into the 2003 Casablanca bombings (a series of suicide bombings that still stand as the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history. 

Wechma

Wechma
Directed and written by Hamid Benani, the 1970 film
Wechma, is the perfect introduction to Moroccan cinema. The film tells the story of Messaoud, a young boy who finds himself rebelling against society and delving into a life full of crime and disappointment. 

Ali Zaoua

Ali Zaoua 
N
abil Ayouch’s 2000 drama looks into Morocco’s impoverished youth. The film tells the story of young homeless boys living in Casablanca’s streets, touching on themes of pain, child abuse and prostitution along the way. 

Headbang Lullaby

Headbang LullabyLooking for a Moroccan comedy to watch? Headbang Lullaby is it. The 2017 film, directed by Hicham Lasri, follows the story of a cop, Daoud, who is sent to spend a day on a bridge outside of Casablanca—the border between two hostile neighbourhoods—ahead of a visit from the Moroccan king.  

Trances

TrancesYou might have already heard of Morocco’s ultra-influential band, Nass El Ghiwane. Ahmed El Maanouni’s 1981 documentary Trances dives deep into their work, featuring footage from their concerts, interviews with the band members and archival footage. 

Marock

MarockHaving screened at Cannes Film Festival in 2005, Marock quickly became controversial. The film was Laila Marrakchi’s first feature length film, centred around a young Muslim-Jewish couple. With Judeo-Muslim relations being a taboo subject at the time, the film made a major mark on society. 

A Thousand Months

Mille Mois (A Thousand Months) – MoroccoSet during the holy month of Ramadan, this Faouzi Bensaidi feature is a must-watch. The film tells the story of a woman and her son, trailing her life after her husband becomes a political prisoner—a secret that she must keep from her son. 

A Thousand and One Hands

A Thousand and One Hands
Also released in the 1970s, Souhel Ben Barka’s
A Thousand and One Hands, was amongst the films that marked the beginnings of Morocco’s contemporary film industry. The film provides insight into Moroccan society and touches on themes of revenge and motivation, telling the story of Moha and his song Miloud, who run a fabric dying business, only for Moha to fall ill and unable to work and Miloud left to run the dying business.

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