After Sharon Stone, the Marrakech film festival has been paying homage to French icon Juliette Binoche.
The actress received the tribute from fellow Frenchman Bruno Dumont, in whose latest movie “Camille Claudel 1915” she stars.
“Morocco is a very special country for me because my family lived here for 15 years so I heard a lot about Morocco, and being here to receive this tribute is a very touching experience for me,” said the actress.
During a career spanning 30 years and some 50 films, Juliette Binoche has garnered numerous awards including an Oscar, a Cesar, and Best actress prizes in Cannes, Venice and Berlin.
One of the key features of the festival are its masterclasses, which attract both established film-makers and film students. They are a chance to learn from some of the world’s biggest film directors.
A member of last year’s jury, US director James Gray is back this year to give a masterclass. The world-famous director is also a screenwriter and a producer.
“It’s hard for me to give advice or anything like that, the only thing I’m going to talk about is the need to make personal films, to put yourself into the movie. As for the current state of films, I think around the world it’s probably quite good. I think the state of American cinema is in a little bit of trouble, but I think around the world it’s quite good, and I think the problem is distribution, not filmmakers. I think we have a lot off filmmakers, I don’t know if we have a lot of good distributors. I’m here because I love Morocco and I love the festival, but when they asked me I felt a little odd because I didn’t really feel like I’d earn it, certainly not yet, so hopefully, I can live up to it and give them a good class,” said Gray.
French director Bruno Dumont gave the festival’s first masterclass:
“This is a place where I can explain why I work the way I do, why I chose the subjects I do, why sometimes there is violence and other times there isn’t, why there is sex or not… All these questions you may ask when you watch a movie, I think it’s good to have a chance to do that, and a director always has something to learn from a viewer,” he said.
More than 100 films are being screened throughout the festival. Among the fifteen competing for the Golden Star is “La Marche” by Nabil Ben Yadir, starring French actors Jamel Debbouze and Tewfik Jallab.
“It’s a film about equality. Equality is an ongoing issue, I don’t know any country that has solved that problem, and when cinema takes interest in this kind of issue, you get great results, such as this film,” said Jamel Debbouze.
“It’s a story which has been completely forgotten in France, the story of these youths from deprived neighbourhoods who decided to rise against racism and fight for equality. The 1980s was a very dark period in France, so it was important to pay homage to them because people are forgetting about this event, there was a survey out not so long ago that found that 80 percent of French people don’t know what the “March” is,” said Tewfik Jallab.
The 1983 “Marche des beurs” came in response to a wave of racist crimes in France in the early 1980s
Inspired by Martin Luther King, a group of young people from Lyon’s poor neighbourhoods went on a non-violent march across the country to raise awareness about racism and demand equal rights.