Les Mécréants (The Miscreants)
On the order of their spiritual leader, three young Islamists kidnap a group of rather libertarian actors who are about to go on tour with their latest show. When the kidnappers arrive at the place of detention, they find themselves cut off from their base. Ensues a 7-day no exit situation, in which both sides are forced to live together, confront each other and challenge their mutual prejudices.
Mohcine Besri, Fiction, Morocco/Switzerland, 2012, 88 min.
Arabic with German, English or Spanish subtitles
With: Jamila El Haouni, Maria Lalouaz, Omar Lotfi, Amine Ennaji, Abdenbi El BeniOUi, Aïssam Bouali, Rabii Benjhail, Mostapha El Houari
Distribution: World except Switzerland and Morrocco
Format: DCP, BluRay or DVD
Language: Arabic with German, English or Spanish Subtitles
Poster/Pictures/Press Kit: Can be sent digitally
“This “closed society” refrains consciously from any caricature or black and white thinking. Because of the confrontation of the unstoppable libertarian elan with the religious obscurantism he deals with the “Arab spring” and at the same time defends an important ontological principle: The value of a human being cannot be measured on hand of his beard or her mini skirt.” Antoine Duplan, Le Temps, Suisse
„A drama staged with a lot of humanity and which skillfully plays with the ambiguity of good and bad. So skillfully that one can only be astonished that this is the first feature movie by Mohcine Besri.” Pascal Gavillet, Tribune de Genève
“Les Mécréants, on the other hand, turns out to be an excellent psycho thriller, infused with a well constructed suspense curve. More than anything, Mohcine Besri’s merit is that he avoided any black and white categorization in his portrait – in this way even the title of the movie is ambiguous because it can describe the godless actors as well as the misdirected Muslim fundamentalists.” Mathieu Loewer, Le Courrier, Switzerland
With the entire group stranded in a secluded countryside dwelling while the fundamentalists wait for instructions from their superiors, Besri has the opportunity to contrast the very different personalities of both groups. Driven to think that they’ll in all likelihood be killed, the actors examine their priorities and try to reason with their captors in well-written dialogues that transcend their simple ideological divides. Its sympathy lies clearly with the thespians, but The Miscreants doesn’t paint the religious radicals as simple nutcases but imbues them with real personalities. Though clearly a film of ideas, Besri doesn’t neglect the visual side either, with camera work that is quite loose and follows the dynamics as they develop." Boyd Van Hoeij, Cineuropa
„An almost Becket-like Huis-Clos“
Sarah Haidar, algérie news
„Les Mécréants, a courageous movie which, in a new manner, deals with the topic of intellectual terrorism which became part of everyday life.” Le journal Al Itihad, Abu Dhabi
“Les Mécréants, a movie which questions us and invites you to question your prejudices. Because of its courage this movie will be disturbing all those who think they detain absolute truths.” Doaa Sultane, Tahrir news, Egypte.
- Best first Feature, National Film Festival, Tangier, Morocco 2012
- Special mention of the Jury, FAMECK, France 2012
- Special mention of the Jury, Cinédays, festival of european films, 2012
- Best Arab Film, Cairo International Film Festival, 2012
- The Jury Award, Malmö Arab Film Festival 2013
- The Jury Award, Oran Arab Film Fesival 2013
"On the one side ... men who can’t stand their daily conditions and the absence of a better future’s perspective, lost within Morocco, a country in total upheaval trying to embrace modernity; that modernity they refuse and oppose vehemently, shutting themselves off in religious obscurantism. On the other side... men and women, from respective backgrounds, bearing the same lot, fighting the same corruption, but to whom modernity is neither a gadget, nor a political tagline.Taking advantage of the glimpse of freedom trickling from the country’s changes, their cultural activism is not more efficient than the former’s religious extremism, but by acting openly, it is (nevertheless) beneficial.
These two sides don’t usually get to truly meet, their respective prejudice against their opponents preventing each to see the human being under the long beard or the mini-skirt. The Miscreants proposes such a meeting; with seven days of forced proximity, certainty invariably leads to doubts, because they are each unique human beings, and mostly because their common denominator outweighs their differences.
The Miscreants offers an inventory on the eve of a certain Arabic Spring, which to me is only a logical follow-up, in countries where people, like everywhere else, only aspire to one single thing, live in peace with dignity."
Born in Meknes, Morocco in 1971, Mohcine Besri studied Physics and Chemistry at the Faculty of Rabat, while making his first steps in the arts by playing small parts in various movies. He later left to Switzerland where he completed his bachelor degree in Computer Science and worked in finance, before becoming a mathematics teacher. In parallel, he pursued his passion for cinema and became a script writer and director. Further to several experiences as Assistant Director, he directed two short films, was a co-writer of “Operation Casablanca” with Swiss director Laurent Nègre, before writing his first feature film “Les Mécréants”.