Fans, performers, writers gathered at the The Marrakech festival this year to honour one of the stars of the Chinese cinema.
The most successful Chinese director Zhang Yimou was greeted by a huge crowd. The occasion also gave moviegoers the chance to watch his latest work, “The Flowers of War.”
“I am very pleased to be taking part in the 12th Marrakech Film Festival which is honouring me. I believe cinema is a cultural bridge that brings people together and helps lead them to a better understanding of it,” he said.
The “Flowers of War” is an historical drama set in 1937 during Japan’s rape of Nanking. A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.
The Curse of the Golden Flower, another of his films was at the time of its release in 2006 the most expensive Chinese film made.
The multi-million dollar historical epic about events during China’s Tang dynasty went on to become the third highest grossing non-English language film in 2006.
Euronews correspondent, Kawtar Wakil on the red carpet with the starts says, “The five continents are in hot competition to win the Gold Star of the Festival. Three quarters of the films here have already won prizes at other festivals so the jury here will have a difficult task in deciding the winner from the 15 films on show.”
The film Zero was premiered to a home audience as its director is Moroccan and many of the actors Moroccan too. Nour Eddine Lekhmari is known for his provocative and soul-searching films.
Zero hones in on the dregs of Casablanca society and was inspired by the American film “Bad Lieutenant” from 1992.
“There are two Moroccan films being premiered. Nabil Ayouchs film is a great one that speaks a little bit about the social situation that makes the young Moroccan or Moroccan despair and they become like an exploding bomb. The other film, “Zero” is about the redemptive power of love,” he said.
It was a first for Lucy Mulloy at the film festival. Her film Una Noce set in Cuba premiered in Marrakech and she was thrilled with the response.
“We just had an amazing screening it was full and it was a very nice response from the audience it was lovely I’m going to Havana on the 9th of this month so I’m really exciting to be all together and tell everybody there how the reactions were here. I’m just sorry that the actors and producers can’t be with me”.
Una Noce is full of youthful energy and is often bawdy. It is narrated by Lila, a blossoming teenage girl confused by her sexuality, alienated from the local girls. The language is Spanish but the teenage cruelty is universal, as her peers mock her slight body hair and tomboyish interest in taekwondo.
Rafael Ouellet is getting used to the lights and the attention. He picked up two awards at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. His film Camion tells of the tragic events that shake up a scattered Canadian family.
“I am always delighted to travel with my film and this is the first time in Morocco the first time in this part of the world and is fun for me to be cultural film festivals and I hope my film will show an exotic side that will be attractive to cinema goers here,” he said.
The film tells of a random tragedy which helps heal the broken bonds between a widowed father and his adult sons in. It develops into an absorbing story as the estranged family are reconnected and redeemed by terrible events.