Morocco, France, Qatar
Volubulis is Moroccan director Faouzi Bensaïdi’s (A Thousand Months, 2003) fourth feature. The film addresses the class divide in contemporary Moroccan society, and its direct ties with capitalism. Bensaïdi narrates the fates of the underprivileged, those who have not benefitted from economic globalization, but instead lead lives irrevocably penetrated by poverty, to the extent that it has affected their most intimate relationships. The story attempts to depict the daily lives of the downtrodden, those who work on meagre wages, neither enough to make ends meet nor to keep their dignity intact. Faced by this reality, they have no option but to accept slow death.
Bensaïdi’s perspective is dark, with no room for hope. This is a melodrama that tells it like it is, without compromises. The relative security and stability enjoyed by Morocco often come at the expense of the lower social classes, while the more privileged circles of society look on from their ivory tower, unperturbed by their suffering. The film’s characters, including the protagonist, are beyond saving. They are being suffocated, and there is no way out.
The shopping mall, the stronghold of modern consumerism, is the setting where Bensaïdi plants his characters. It is where Abdelkader (Mouhcine Malzi) works as a security guard. His wife, Malika (Nadia Kounda), meanwhile, works as a housekeeper for a wealthy lady. Their life is no different from millions of Moroccans struggling to stay alive, yet it takes them a few steps ahead towards social humiliation. While working, Abdelkader prevents a powerful woman from bypassing the parking queue, opening the doors to endless trouble and a practical hell.
- Hauvick Habechian
Director: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Producer: Saïd Hamich, Faouzi Bensaïdi
Screenwriter: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Director of Photography: Marc-André Batigne
Editor: Maxime Garault
Cast: Mouhcine Malzi, Nadia Kounda, Abdelhadi Talbi, Nezha Rahil, Faouzi Bensaïdi
Sound: Patrice Mendez, Alexis Meynet, Samuel Aichoun
Production Company: Montfleuri Production, Barney Production
Music: Mike Kourtzer, Fabien Kourtzer
Faouzi Bensaïdi is a Moroccan filmmaker born in Meknes in 1967. He studied at the Institute of Dramatic Arts and Cultural Activity (ISADAC) of Rabat, and in 1995 moved to Paris where he trained as an actor at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts. He directed ‘La Falaise’, his first short film, in 1997, for which he received 23 awards. In 2000, he directed two short films: ‘Le Mur’, which won an award at the Festival de Cannes, and ‘Trajets’, which won a prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 2003, his first feature ‘Mille Mois’ won two awards at Cannes. In 2013, he directed ‘Death for Sale’, which won an award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Throughout his career, Bensaïdi has also worked as an author and actor with great directors including Nabil Ayouch, André Techiné and Nadir Mocknech. All of his films have received critical acclaim and have been distributed around the world.
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