Marock, the film that still rocks

More than 15 years ago, the film Marock was selected in the "Un certain regard" category at the Cannes Film Festival.

This feature-length film offered audiences a fresh vision of Moroccan youth, uninhibited and eager for freedom and recklessness. Marock retraces the impossible love story of two teenagers from different backgrounds. She is Muslim, he is Jewish. Like Titanic, Dirty Dancing, La Boum or LOL, this romantic comedy has become a classic for the new generation. But beyond its light-hearted tone, Marock also carries a strong political message. In 2006, against the backdrop of the Casablanca bombings that struck the Spanish, Jewish and Belgian communities, Laïla Marrakchi used her camera to confront Islamic obscurantism.

The story

Far from school preoccupations, Ghita and her friends enjoy life to the full, laughing, singing, dancing... Basking in the sun while listening to David Bowie... But one day, Lalla Ghita's eyes meet those of Youri Benchetrit. The two lovers start circling each other and end up never leaving each other's side. "Passion isn't something you talk about, sir, it's something you live!” the heroine boldly replies to her philosophy teacher. Religious passion can also be lived. This is precisely what Ghita's older brother is going through. Mao, played by the talented Assad Bouab, has become mysteriously gloomy since his return from London. He used to feast as much as his sister, but now devotes himself to prayer day and night. Ghita, who used to be close to her brother, sees him gradually drifting away from her. What secret is he trying to conceal behind his silence?

A breeze of freedom for Moroccan women

Aside from these intrigues, the backdrop is a contemporary Moroccan society that remains attached to its traditions, rites and culinary preparations... This film is not intended to denigrate religious dogma. Its main aim is to illustrate a context of emancipation and renewal. Hassan II's reign came to an end in 1999, ushering in an era of modernity. The reform of the Moudawana (Moroccan family code) focused primarily on women's rights. Moroccan women are finally recognized as individuals in their own right. Ghita, at the center of the plot, illustrates this social advance.

Multi-culturalism in the spotlight

This Mediterranean Romeo and Juliet has the merit of projecting onto the big screen the cohabitation of two communities within a single country. At school, as at the party, you follow the daily lives of Arab and Jewish high-school students. Indeed, the heroine's first name alone conveys a desire to blend cultures. Ghita (or Rita) is rooted in Arab, Portuguese, Latin "margarita" (purity) and Greek "caritas" (pearl) cultures. It also echoes the iconic American actress of Hispanic, Irish and British origin: Rita Hayworth. Another example is the singer Rita Yahan Farouz, whose identity is split between her Iranian birthplace and her Israeli nationality. On the highway to modernity. On a deserted track, three cars hurry to the starting line. Youri can't take his eyes off the traffic light. It will soon turn green. After an excruciating wait, the young man steps on the gas pedal. Despite the one-way streets and speed limits, all he could see was a clear road, lined with palm trees and lit up by the burning sun. Finally, he crosses the finish line. This emblematic scene of the film, a bit caricatural, says a lot about Moroccan society — the new generation intends to move forward on the road to freedom.

Sources:

http://www.maghrebdesfilms.fr/marock.html https://www.festival-cannes.com/fr/festival/films/marock https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marock_(film) https://idpbarcelona.net/docs/recerca/marroc/pdf/nor_loi_70_03.pdf https://www.cairn.info/revue-les-cahiers-de-l-orient-2011-2-page-15.htm https://perspective.usherbrooke.ca/bilan/servlet/BMEve/920 https://www.journaldesfemmes.fr/prenoms/rita/prenom-5409 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_(chanteuse) https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Hayworth https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Khan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marock#/media/File:Marock.jpg