The Daily Star has a write-up of two recent films from the Middle East, “Marock,” written and directed by Leila Marrakchi, and “One Night,” written and directed by Iranian Niki Karimi.
“It’s not your typical Arab film. I wanted to get away from all that,” says Marrakchi. “…The whole purpose was to tell a story and show a different image of Morocco.”
That different image sees the kids drinking, dancing and smoking hash with the same casual abandon as any other teenager around the world. The film deliberately avoids the traditional Maghrebi cinematic stereotypes, there are no souks, hammams or bazaars in Rita’s world – only big houses, fast cars and girls drunkenly throwing up in club toilets. Where “Marock” is most effective is when there is a collision between Rita’s bubblegum fantasy and the reality of the patriarchal order around her. The opening scene, set to Snap’s early 1990’s dance hit “I’ve Got The Power,” sees Marrakchi pan across a club car park filled with sports cars. The camera closes up on Rita and her boyfriend steaming up the windows before they’re interrupted by a police officer, who threatens them with jail unless he receives some money.