• Transe (Al Hal)
Genre : Musical
Type : Documentary
Original title : Trances
Principal country concerned : Column : Music, Cinema/tv
Year of production : 1981
Format : Feature
Running time : 90 (in minutes)

Since the seventies, Morocco, thanks to five musicians educated in the school of the street and decided to break with the invading "oriental languors", knew a musical explosion that would be for the young generation the shout of their desires, of their frustrations and of their revolt.

In TRANCES (or AL HAL), Ahmed El Maanouni describes the geographical and cultural map of this group, Nass El Ghiwane, that lost in 1974 one of his leading members, Boujemaa, dead at 28.

Through their songs, the film speaks about the traditional social themes (the Tea or Exchanging, the Fire or Suffering, the Water ot the Dryness of Hearts) but also the great contemporary questions (Time, History, Laughing, Hope).
The Trance, a ritual and sacred expression among the Gnaouas of Essaouira, transforms itself in a secular and modern delirium, as one can see in public concerts filmed in Carthage, Agadir and Paris by Ahmed El Maanouni.

Ahmed El Maanouni / Morocco / 1981 / 86 min

Director/Scriptwriter: Ahmed El Maanouni
Image: Ahmed El Maanouni
Sound: Ricardo Castro
Cast: Larbi Batma, Nass-El Ghiwane, Abderrahman Paco, Omar Sayed, Allal Yaala

UK Distributor: Cineteca di Bologna, Via Riva di Reno, 72, 40122 Bologna, Italy. tel: +39 51 219 4826 fax: +39 51 219 4821

Production : SOGEAV (OHRA)

Restored in 2007 by Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project, Ahmed El-Maanouni, and Izza Genini. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority.

"It was in 1981 while I was editing a film, The King of Comedy. We worked at night so no one would call us on the telephone and I would have television on, and one channel in New York at the time, around 2 or 3 in the morning, was showing a film called Transes. It repeated all night and it repeated many nights. And it had commercials in it, but it didn't matter. So I became passionate about this music that I heard and I saw also the way the film was made, the concert that was photographed and the effect of the music on the audience at the concert. I tracked down the music and eventually it became my inspiration for many of the designs and construction of my film The Last Temptation of Christ. […] And I think the group was singing damnation: their people, their beliefs, their sufferings and their prayers all came through their singing. And I think the film is beautifully made by Ahmed El Maanouni; it's been an obsession of mine since 1981 and that is why we are inaugurating the Foundation with Trances." -Martin Scorsese, May 2007

(Transes) "A concert film unlike any other," Trances presents extraordinary footage of the mighty Moroccan music group, Nass El Ghiwane. "At a time when access to pop music was incredibly limited in northern Africa, Nass El Ghiwane introduced an unsuspecting Moroccan population to music that was informed by various types of regional music; incorporated Sufi chants, theater, and poetry; and was rife with politically loaded lyrics. So entranced by the film was Martin Scorsese that he encouraged Peter Gabriel to take cues from the band for his score to The Last Temptation of Christ and chose to inaugurate the World Cinema Foundation's work, some twenty-six years later, with this title" (BAMcinématek). The restoration of Trances used the original 16mm camera and sound negative provided by producer Izza Génini. The camera negative was restored both photochemically and digitally and blown up to 35mm format. The sound negative was restored to Dolby SR and digital.
New 35mm Restoration (World Cinema Foundation: Safeguarding Cinematic Treasures) 
Berkeley African Film Festival 2011, USA)

- Written by Ahmed El Maanouni. Photographed by Ahmed El Maanouni. Music Nass El Ghiwane. With Nass-El Ghiwane, Larbi Batma, Abderrahman Paco. (87 mins, Color, In Arabic with English subtitles, 35mm, From Cineteca di Bologna)


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