Marock is a play on words based on the French Maroc (for Morocco), and Rock n’ roll. This wonderful and yet controversial movie has caused a tidal wave in the political scene of Morocco.
Whilst some welcomed it as a step forward for freedom of expression, others saw it as an attack on religious values. Despite some fierce opposition, Marock was released and screened to the public in Morocco in 2005.
So what is this argument all about?
Well, the movie is set in the beautiful city of Casablanca in Morocco. Fast cars, parties, romance, music and graduation are the rhythm of Rita’s everyday life. Rita is 17 and comes from the Moroccan upper class. Her very own views on life and her stubbornness clash most of the time with the traditional Moroccan culture.
This gets complicated when she and Youri, a Moroccan Jewish teenager, give romance a shot and fall in love together. They are then facing their respective family and friends’ strong disapproval of their union.
Marock depicts well enough the Morocco of some of the Joneses through the eyes of a young jet set crew. Through controversy, the young movie director, Laila Marrakchi, has successfully got the message across to the public. Sometimes in a very shocking way however she remains very truthful and original. This is a “tel quel” movie, nothing has been added or removed from the truth.
Laila Marrakchi portrays a high profile Moroccan teenage hood with an accuracy and authenticity that is so faithful to reality throughout the entire film. She has indeed wonderfully and rightfully answered the question; What happens in Morocco when you are a 17 years old teenager from the upper class and in a quest of your own identity?
As JJ Rousseau once said: “you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the land belongs to no one.” You are Moroccan regardless of your beliefs and background. Are there rules when it comes to whom you are allowed to fall in love with? Especially when you are 17 and driven by eagerness to experience love? Does love have any border or colour or even religion?
Those are the questions Laila Marrakchi has answered through her movie Marock.
Broadcast at the Institut Francais at Cine Lumiere part of the Mosaiques Festival.