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5 Moroccan directors deliver their vision of quarantine

Written by FDM

An unprecedented hiatus in our lives spent alone or with family, confinement was also an opportunity for some to create. To highlight this creativity in times of crisis, JAWJAB asked 5 renowned Moroccan directors to present, in the form of short films of 5 minutes, their vision of life in the time of the novel coronavirus.

Hicham Lasri, Raja Saddiki, Hassan Ouazzani, Mohamed Achaour, and Mohamed Mouftakir took part in the project. Their filmed productions, shared between May 18 and 22 on the Facebook page of the creative studio and talent incubator JAWJAB, are a way of extracting oneself for a moment from the anxiety-provoking climate and escaping into each director’s particular universe.

The 5 filmmakers bear witness to the brutal change that quarantine has brought about in their lives or in that of their loved ones. Sequence plan, black & white, stop motion, photography… Aside from the constraints linked to production time and space, the directors had the freedom to deliver, in whichever format they wanted, something very personal on this particular period.

                                                         Hassan Ouazzani – Grandma’s Hands

“We wanted to document this period from the artists’ point of view, through the images they produce, the stories they want to tell,” said Younes Lazrak, deputy general manager at JAWJAB.

Personal visions, universal questions

The spectator thus is invited into the lair of each director, discovers his place, his family sometimes, his personal objects. Hicham Lasri makes us experience loneliness as anxiety, through one-way dialogue, a sort of hide-and-seek game. “It starts from an emotional lack, from this nostalgia for my children, to make it into a sort of anxiety-provoking story (pushing the codes of cinema) to tell this story that is simple, constructed, and effective,” analyzes the director.

                                                                        Hicham Lasri – The Kids

With Raja Saddiki, it is nostalgia for the world before that takes shape in an intermingling of real images and cartoons created by the young designer Majda Jarbili. “Today, there are billions of us dreaming of living again as before, of being able to be with our mothers, our friends, to go to the beach, to be in contact with people and nature… Like all, our dreams have never been easier than having our life back,’ says the director and documentary filmmaker.

                                                                       Raja Saddiki – Dreaming

Photographer and director Hassan Ouazzani has chosen his grandmother’s hands, worn by time but still skillful, as the main “actress” of this short film. Far from her loved ones, this old woman can only count on her fingers to live. A family distress experienced by many of us during this period of confinement. “The line between the personal and the universal is very fine when tackling family issues,” says the artist.

For Mohamed Achaour, it is through the eyes of his young son that he shows the quarantine effects. Clinging to the bars of the balcony, his only contact with the outside world is the daily passage of the garbage truck. “The crucial question of the film is the sudden change in a way of life. How do our youngest children experience quarantine and are they aware of it? Asks the director.

                                                                             Mohamed Mouftakir – Containment

Also by filming his son, Mohamed Mouftakir echoes a situation that we all experience, that of introspection during this forced quarantine. “External confinement leads to internal deconfinement”, explains the director. Between the walls of his house, on his little bike that goes round in circles on the terrace, the child becomes that inner voice of the artist who is, “in essence, a being for the most part confined”.