In an intimate epic between France and Morocco, reverie and self-mockery, playwright Mohamed El Khatib questions mourning, identity and heritage.
Shortly after his mother's passing, playwright and stage director Mohamed El Khatib receives a phone call from his uncle in Bab Berred, the family's village in the Moroccan Rif, instructing him to come as soon as possible to collect his inheritance.
In February 2012, Mohamed El Khatib lost his mother, Yamna, to cancer. For weeks, using a small camera set up in front of his hospital bed, he filmed their interviews and exchanges. In the days that followed, as he and his father and sisters flew the body from Orleans to Tangier and then met up with uncles, aunts and cousins at the funeral, the playwright also captured a few images. Mixed with other documentary material, these bursts of love and mourning will create the texture of a scenic tribute to the disappeared (Finir en beauté, presented in 2015 at the Avignon Festival). With this road movie in which he is the main character, he now offers a cinematic sequel.
Inspired by a strange telephone message from a maternal uncle, who invites him to come to the Rif "with a Renault 12", in order to take possession, as the only boy of the deceased, of an agricultural land which he is the heir, Mohamed El Khatib stages an initiatory journey, between documentary and fiction, dream and reality. This path that he accomplished so many times in childhood, and that he is now driving again at the wheel of the ancient but unbreakable vehicle, opens a space for reminiscences and questions. Sequences filmed at Yamna's death, chance encounters, family conversations on both sides of the river, extracts from a radio interview, messages, notebooks, photos...: this journey between two worlds blurs the tracks and times of the indicative, with identity, filiation and transmission as its vanishing lines. But its director prefers suggestion to certainty, self-mockery to confession. The main recipient of the story, his little girl, who did not know her paternal grandmother, is not yet old enough to listen to it.
a film by Mohamed EL KHATIB
France, 2018, Documentary, 1h19mn
Release date: November 30, 2018 (Marrakech International Film Festival, Morocco)
Countries of origin: France, Morocco, Belgium
Runtime: 1 hour 18 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78 : 1
Camille Laemlé... producer
Serge Lalou... producer
Karim Aitouna... co-producer
Julie Freres... associate producer
Mohamed El Khatib
Mohamed El Khatib
Fériel Ben Aïssa
Noémie Azul Loeve
Les Films d'ici Méditerranée
Les Films d'Ici
Waq Waq Studio
Dans une épopée intime entre France et Maroc, rêverie et autodérision, le dramaturge Mohamed El Khatib interroge le deuil, l'identité et l'héritage.