2013. France/Morocco/Switzerland. Abdellah Taïa. 81 min.
U.S. Premiere. Post-screening discussion with Abdellah Taïa.
Friday, March 28, 2014, 6:15 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
2013. France/Morocco/Switzerland. Directed by Abdellah Taïa. Like the book it’s based on—Abdellah Taïa’s own 2006 landmark novel—the Moroccan author’s directorial debut is a bracing, deeply personal account of a young gay man’s awakening that avoids both cliché and the trappings of autobiography. First seen as a 15-year-old, Abdellah (Saïd Mrini) habitually sneaks away from his family’s crowded Casablanca home to engage in sexual trysts with random men in abandoned buildings. A decade later, we find Abdellah (now played by Karim Ait M’hand) on scholarship in Geneva, involved with an older Swiss professor (Frédéric Landenberg). With a clear-eyed approach, devoid of sentimentality, this wholly surprising bildungsfilm explores what it means to be an outsider, and with the help of renowned cinematographer Agnès Godard, Taïa finds a film language all his own: at once rigorous and poetic, worthy of Bresson in its concreteness and lucidity. 81 min.