Nabil Ayouch is not your typical film director. He’s not your typical screenplay writer, either. Controversial and contentious by nature, the 52-year-old French-Moroccan filmmaker made a name in the industry after his feature film Much Loved was censored back in 2015 by Moroccan officials in an attempt to “protect freedom of expression.”
Depicting the Kingdom under a bleak light, pointing fingers at the mongering prostitution epidemic scourging through Morocco’s notorious Red City, Nabil is now back with a much more energetic and festive project shedding light onto Casablanca’s bubbling music scene, Casablanca Beats.
Now living in the economic capital of the Moorish monarchy, Ayouch’s accurate impression and portrayal of the city’s musical soul on screen was listed and in competition for the prized Palme d’Or earlier this month at Cannes.
Becoming a bit of a habit, his seventh feature employs amateur actors again to give life to Casablanca’s quarter of Sidi Moumen, its youth and their journey through life and self-expression via hip-hop and rap.
As usual, Nabil Ayouch tackles another plethora of social issues touching on politics, freedom of speech and women in society while scrutinising the entirety of the Moroccan macrocosm as a whole through rhythm and poetry.
The fictional documentary which puts non-professional actors in a real-world setting is a definite celebration of the city’s youth proving once again that the ends don’t necessarily justify the means in one of the most compelling of ways.
You can watch the trailer here.