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Namibian Premiere Moroccan Oscar entry “Death for Sale” by Faouzi Bensaïdi

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InfoEntrance: 40,- N$

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Three friends strive to preserve their loyalty to each other in spite of a corrupt society. These young men live in Tétouan, an impoverished Moroccan city. Soufiane, the youngest, spends his days pilfering. Allal, the oldest, is trying to gain a foothold as a drug dealer. Malik falls in love with Dounia who works as a prostitute in a night club. The three friends part to make their own way in life, but before long it looks as though their futures will founder in a maelstrom of violence, greed, jealousy and betrayal. Seeing no other way out, they decide to get together and raid a jeweller’s shop. The film opens with Malik walking towards Dounia, silently laughing. Behind her, knots of video tape float up from a rubbish dump like paper dragons.

Faouzi Bensaïdi gives his relaxed young actors plenty of room to manoeuvre. His work casts a spell on account of a visual style that is both laconic and powerful and demonstrates how each friend’s dream of happiness only serves to drive a wedge between them. Beneath permanently leaden city clouds they nonetheless find a way to treat each other with generosity and trust.

Trailer: http://vimeo.com/35656432

Death for Sale
Marocco/ France/ Belgium/ Germany, 2011
117 Min., Arabic with English subtitles
Director: Faouzi Bensaidi
Starring: Faouzi Bensaïdi, Fehd Benchemsi,Imane Elmechrafi, Fouad Labiad,Mouhcine Malzi, Nezha Rahil, Mohamed Choubi

Press:

"I enjoyed the film very much. Tough, strong, lyrical, well acted, and designed..." - Martin Scorsese, (Letter to Faouzi Bensaïdi)

“A gritty and stylized urban thriller with strong social overtones” – The Hollywood Report

"Un grand film noir marocain”  - Nouvelle Observateur

“Death for Sale bedient keines dieser visuellen Klischees, sondern zeigt modernes Autorenkino von Regisseur Faouzi Bensaïdi.” – Critic.de

“Moroccan director finds inspiration on home soil. It's no surprise that Death for Sale has been such a success at festivals.” – Arabstoday.net

Awards (Selection):

  • Berlinale 2012: C.I.C.A.E.-Prize
  • Cinefan – Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, Best Director
  • Golden Iris Award, Brussels Film Festival 2012
  • Cineuropa Award, Brussels Film Festival, 2012
  • Moroccan National Film Festival 2012
  • Morocco’s official selection for the Academy Awards 2012 (Oscar entry)

The filmmaker about the film:
“After "www. What a wonderful world", a "playful" genre film, "Death for Sale" will continue exploring the same genre, moving towards the linearity of pure storytelling, seemingly head-on.But will the genre and its codes remain impervious to profound reality, to a changing world? Won't the mere fact of strutting an intrigue, and characters, in streets that exude social tension and threatening extremists mean that, almost without wanting them to, the codes will be altered and the genre end up "contaminated"? Let's hope so. Tetouan is where this story takes place. It's a prideful, abandoned, wounded northern town in which violence and trafficking are present alongside an ever-increasing fanaticism. It's the ideal location for a dark, violent film with a thread of warped humour...”

“It is a story about young men who want to live a good life but are stuck in a wall that keeps them from fulfilling their desires and dreams. At the same time, it is also a film about dreams that became a nightmare because they did not have the possibilities - be it due to the lack of education or the economic and political situation – to access these dreams. I am always fascinated by weak characters. In the film, there are no bad guys, they may seem to be, but they are not.”

"I want to portray Morocco in the present time to tell the world that our country is also modern. For years, the only image we see of Morocco is the same traditional images of men and women."

"The relationship with spirituality is something that interests me a lot," says Bensaïdi. "I don't want to just tell what is good and bad, what is right and wrong. I want to talk about the madness, the impossibility of situations."
With all the conflicts and feelings of dissatisfaction portrayed in the film, it's impossible to watch it without referring to the Arab Spring.  "I did this film before the movement, but I hope the film could show something about it - how people could either be seduced by fundamentalists or become revolutionary and change the world."

About the director:
Director, writer and actor Faouzi Bensaïdi was born in Meknès, Morocco, in 1967. After completing a diploma at the Dramatic Arts Institute of Rabat, he started working in theater. In 1995, he moved to Paris to study at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts. He directed his first short film, La Falaise, in 1998; it earned several awards and toured a number of festivals. The following year, he collaborated with veteran French filmmaker André Téchiné on the script of Loin. In 2000, he directed two shorts, Le Mur and Trajets; the first received an award at Cannes; the second, at Venice. In 2003, his first feature film, A Thousand Months (Alf Shahr), was screened at Cannes in "Un Certain Regard," winning the Prix de la Jeunesse and the Prix Premier Regard. “Death for Sale”, his latest film, was Morocco’s official entry for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards (Oscars) in 2012.

Filmography:
1998 La Falaise – The Cliff (short film)
2000 Trajets – The Rain Line (short film)
2003 Le mur – The Rain Line (short film)
2003 Mille Mois – A Thousand Month (film)
2007 WWW.What a Wonderful World (film)
2011 Death for Sale (film)

The film series “African Perspectives” is a project by AfricAvenir, done in partnership with/ supported by the Goethe-Centre Windhoek/NaDS, the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, AfriCine, Turipambwe Design, and JacMat.

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