There are few movie theatres in Rabat. The Institute Française shows movies in their little theatre on Saturday’s and Sunday’s at 6:30pm. But then there’s the theatre 7ème Art, just in the centre of the city. A quite modern building with a Bauhausian name sign above the entrance, at one side of a plaza next to the city centre’s main avenue Mohamed V.
Since I arrived two weeks ago, they have been showing the same movie, Adieu mères (Goodbye Mothers) by Mohamed Ismail, his fourth film. If you have a look at the poster, you might not necessarily feel very attracted to go see it. But entrance is 15 Dirham (1 Euro 50), it’s part of Moroccan culture, and it deals with a topic, Jewish emigration in the 60′s, that is being discussed recently in Morocco and was on the cover of one of the main weekly magazines, TelQuel, that titled last week: The Jew in Us (story in French). So tonight was the night. Function was on at 9pm, as every night. I went with a friend and we got our ticket from the ticket counter, right next to the entrance that leads directly into the one big hall, with the hallway in the middle (where usually the best seats are). Comfortable, red, slightly run-down and squeaking seats. But it gives you this feeling of a movie theatre. Not a multiplex, but really a place to appreciate a film. Not many were there to appreciate tonight’s function though. It started of with a Moroccan short movie, called Liberé Provisoire that although with some parts in Arabic, had a nice little plot of a man who leaves prison, picks up the money he had hidden, and looses it when he goes into a bar following a woman making him eyes… and a surprising ending.
Adieu Mères is telling the story of a Jewish community in Morocco, filmed on the background of Jewish emigration to Israel in the 60s, where a thousand year long history of Jewish population exists. Today only about 2,000 remain, while in 1950 there were nearly 250,000 on 10 million Moroccans. The story turns around the impossible love between a young Jewish girl and the Muslim boy, and a father, who feels he has to leave family and his best friend behind for a better living.
The film is tragic, very tragic and touches on the deepest feelings of human nature, home (what we call in German “Heimat”), friendship, love, sorrow, and family. It is different in a sense that it doesn’t use the acting, cutting and story telling in a way we are used, and the score is somewhere between Once upon a time and Titanic, but the feelings can be understood anywhere. So I’ll be back for more, whenever the programme may change.
By the way, the movie is nominated for best foreign movie for next year’s Oscars celebration and talking about Hollywood, for Hollywood movies go to the Medina, where the latest can be found for just 10 Dirham (about 1 Euro). One might think sometimes even before they are out in the USA.