Rock the Casbah
Director: Laila Marrakchi
Director Laila Marrakchi returns to the festival with an ensemble piece that includes Morjana Alaoui, Nadine Labaki (Where Do We Go Now?), Lubna Azabal (Incendies), and screen legend Omar Sharif.
A prominent Moroccan family assembles to mourn the loss of Moulay Hassan (Sharif): husband, father, and grandfather. Strict Muslim protocol dictates there must be three days of rituals following a death; day one is dedicated to the living, day two is about the burial, and the final day deals with separation. Reuniting this somewhat dysfunctional group opens up all kinds of old and new emotional wounds, not unlike any other family under the same set of circumstances.
Sharif’s character begins the film by breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience directly. Then throughout the days of mourning, his daughters and extended family fight, laugh, cry, and soon discover hidden secrets. It’s just unfortunate that Marrakchi’s screenplay feels so tonally unconnected and that her direction is unable to compensate. The overall look has an odd whimsical quality that just doesn’t work for a funeral gathering. It plays out more like a melodrama trying to tackle some rather taboo themes. There are still some funny bits along with a few moments of sadness and revelation in this family satire coming to grips with who they really are. (Eric Marchen)
Friday, September 13th, Visa Screening Room (Elgin), 9:00pm
Saturday, September 13th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 3:45pm
Sunday, September 15th, Scotiabank 2, 11:15am