FNF. “Haut et Fort” by Nabil Ayouch: A film that invites young people to express themselves

The film “Haut et Fort” by its director Nabil Ayouch, which was screened on Tuesday as part of the official competition of the 22nd edition of the National Film Festival (FNF) of Tangier, is an appeal to young people to express themselves freely through rap.

Produced in 2021, by Ali’n Productions (Morocco), Les Films du Nouveau Monde (France), in co-production with Unite and Ad Vitam (France), “Haut et fort” tells the story of Anas, a former committed rapper in the cultural center of a popular district of the city of Casablanca.

Encouraged by their new teacher, the young people of the center will try to free themselves from the weight of certain traditions to live their passion and express themselves through hip-hop culture. “Haut et Fort” is a fiction in line with the work of observation and introspection close to the field that Nabil Ayouch has been carrying out for years on each of his films. An approach that he particularly likes since this last film was made with the participation of young people from the Cultural Center “Les étoiles de Sidi Moumen”, created by the Ali Zaoua foundation in 2014.

Directed and written by Nabil Ayouch in collaboration with Maryam Touzani, this cinematographic work is marked by the participation of Anas Basbousi, Ismail Adouab, Meriam Nakkach, Nouhaila Arif, Abdou Basbousi, Zineb Boujemaa, Soufiane Bellali, Mehdi Razzouk, Amina Kannan, Samah Barigou , Maha Menan, Marwa Kniniche, Marouane Bennani and Abderahaman Errahmani.

During the debate session, which followed the screening of the feature film, Mr. Ayouch indicated that the message of the film is to underline “the importance of letting young people express themselves freely”. To do this, adds the director, it is essential “to give young people spaces in which they can express themselves and assert themselves and to listen to them through art in all its forms, including music and theater, among others”.

Regarding the “natural” acting of the actors in the film, Mr. Ayouch noted that in addition to a well-written script, “he kept the doors open to improvisation”. “At no time do we feel if these are improvised or written scenes”, he pointed out, specifying that even at the level of the rap pieces sung in the film, “we did not want them to be our words, but theirs”. “Haut et Fort”, which was in the running for the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, received the Festival’s Positive Cinema Prize. This selection is a first in the history of Moroccan cinema at the level of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Organized by the Moroccan Cinema Center (CCM), under the high patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, this edition of the FNF is distinguished by the large number of films that will be screened.

A total of 105 films produced since the last edition of the festival in 2020, including 28 feature films, 50 short films and 27 documentaries are scheduled. The 22nd edition of the FNF, dedicated to the memory of the late Nour-Eddine Saïl, offers three competitions: feature films, short fiction films and feature documentaries. The program for this edition also includes the “Film Market” which will discuss issues related to the distribution and exploitation of films in the era of digitization and its new forms.

Also planned are professional meetings on the reality of national cinema and the prospects for its development, the presentation of film production for the years 2020 and 2021 and other parallel activities.

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FNF. “Haut et Fort” by Nabil Ayouch: A film that invites young people to express themselves