In the sky of Marrakech, stars and a pledge of hope for Iran

Young Iranian director Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi won the Golden Star, the supreme award of the Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM), on Saturday evening with his film Dark Knight, dedicating his prize to “all women in Iran”. .

Dark Knight (2022), the first feature film by Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi, explores the life of a young Iranian, living in Shemroon, north of Tehran, who switches to the dark side while trying to make easy money .

“I want to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives fighting to regain the freedom to be themselves,” the filmmaker said, referring to the revolt in Iran that broke out more than two months ago. after the death of Mahsa Amini.

“I dedicate my award to all the women of Iran and the younger generation who risk their lives for freedom,” added the 43-year-old director.

The starry nights of Marrakech, the sweet nights of this festival created in 2001 on the initiative of His Majesty King Mohammad VI, thus ended with a pledge of hope carried by filmmakers both committed and recognized.

The FIFM is not a bling-bling – albeit prestigious – festival as we are used to seeing elsewhere, nor a sharp and hermetic festival reserved for an elite nor even a festival with a film market, but it is a major international crossroads, an event serving the 7th art and the public.

The Marrakech International Film Festival is unifying and unifying. It aims – as the French producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier wanted, who was the first to join this visionary project – to highlight quality cinematographic works, to contribute to the development of the film industry in Morocco and to promote the image of the latter throughout the world. His wife Melita Toscan du Plantier, founder of the FIFM and advisor to the President of the FIFM Foundation, took up the torch with the same enthusiasm and passion after the death of her husband in 2003.

The 2022 vintage of the festival was exceptional in more ways than one. First of all, it marked the return of the event after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. She then confirmed the great enthusiasm of the public for the different sections of the festival, since more than 150,000 spectators attended the 124 film screenings at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, at the Coliseum cinema, but also on Jemaa el- fna and the Yves Saint Laurent museum. In all, nearly 20,000 people were accredited to attend the various sections of the festival, almost double the accreditations recorded during the 18th edition in 2019. Nearly 5,000 children and teenagers also took part in the screenings reserved for young people. audience.

The OLJ was able to hear the words of the president of the jury, the Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, in the magnificent gardens of the Mammounia hotel/palace. Relaxed and lascivious, he said he was delighted with the public’s enthusiasm and enthusiasm, as well as the return of spectators to cinemas. “The whole planet has been affected by the pandemic which has spared no one and in particular filmmakers who are now thinking about other ways of making films. Moreover, on a human scale, people are slowing down their frenzy of work and discovering things they have never done or dared to do. It is therefore very likely that this health crisis will help us to perceive life in a better way. “For my part, added Sorrentino to L’Orient-Le Jour, I no longer have this bulimia to make films like when I was young. I am now 52 years old and I slow down my pace by taking pleasure in enjoying moments like those I spend in Marrakech, which is my main project for the moment. “This festival, he says again, allows me to see films from all countries and that we don’t have the opportunity to see in Italy. I’m also curious to see how today’s young directors perceive cinema from all over the world. A beautiful confession from this filmmaker who has given great works to the 7th art such as, among others, La Grande Belleza, Il Divo and recently The Hand of God.

Scottish actress and producer Tilda Swinton holding her Marrakech tribute trophy. Photo IMFF 2022

All voices, from North to South

Like previous editions, the 2022 edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival has reserved a special place for Moroccan cinema through a program that honors a new generation of filmmakers, whose works are hailed by the critical both in Morocco and internationally. Thus, Reines, first feature film by Yasmine Benkiran, Les Damnés ne pleurent pas, second feature film by Fyzal Boulifa, and Fragments From Heaven, first feature film by Adnane Baraka, met with great success during their screenings.

The Panorama of Moroccan Cinema, which presented five films, opened with Days of Summer by Faouzi Bensaïdi, screened as a world premiere in front of a packed and enthusiastic audience.

This festival was also marked by the tributes paid to four great names in world cinema: the Indian actor Ranveer Singh who expressed “his immense pride, as an ambassador of Indian cinema”, to be celebrated in this way and honored in Marrakech; the American director James Gray (president of the jury in 2018) and who addressed the young talents by humbly saying to them: “We need you because you open our minds and you comfort us. »

Moroccan director Farida Benlyazid did not hide her emotion when she received her tribute on the occasion of this 19th edition. She was a member of the jury for the very first edition of the festival in 2001. “The festival was ready and announced for September 28, when the fateful date of September 11 arrived. It was then a question of canceling it. But the king has decided. By his will, he was maintained, ”she recalled in her speech.

As for Scottish actress and producer Tilda Swinton, she proclaimed when she received her trophy: “Cinema shows us who we are, in our great diversity… Long live cinema and long live difference! »

1669328678 558 In the sky of Marrakech stars and a pledge ofThe winners of the 19th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival. Photo IMFF 2022

Another highlight of this 19th edition: the series of conversations with great film personalities. Open and free sessions that allowed festival-goers to converse with renowned directors and actors, including Leos Carax, Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (two-time Oscar winner in the best foreign film category), Jeremy Irons , Ruben Östlund (twice Palme d’Or for The Square and Triangle of Sadness). The latter gave advice with great generosity to young students who wish to continue in the film industry.

Meetings that constitute a bridge between different countries and multiple cultures, but also a bridge between stars from all over the world and new talents from Morocco, African countries and the Arab world.

This festival has great respect for all these voices that resonate everywhere. Proof of this is the choice of the jury which awarded the Gold Star to the film The Dark Knight by Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi. The latter, as well as Asghar Farhadi, did not fail to raise their voice very loudly by sending messages of hope and support to their people in Iran, who have been living through dark hours of repression for several months.

Finally, this edition brought together 250 international professionals around a selection of 23 projects and films as part of the 5th edition of the Atlas Workshops. Since its launch in 2018, this platform dedicated to the industry has supported 111 projects and films from the Arab world and Africa, including 48 from Morocco. A big party that left no one out and finally awarded its prizes on the evening of November 19, promising to return in an even more variegated and colorful twentieth edition.

Palmares

– The Gold Star was awarded to Black Knight (Iran) by Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi.

– The jury prize went to two tied films: Alma Viva (Portugal) by Cristèle Alves Meira and Le Bleu du Caftan (Morocco) by Maryam Touzani.

– The prize for directing was awarded to Carmen Jaquier for Foudre/Thunder (Switzerland).

– The Best Actress Award was given to actress Choi Seung-yoon for her role in Riceboy Sleeps (Canada) by Anthony Shim.

– The best actor award was received by Arswendy Bening Swara for his role in Autobiography (Indonesia) by Makbul Mubarak.

Young Iranian director Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi won the Golden Star, the supreme award of the Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM), on Saturday evening with his film Dark Knight, dedicating his prize to “all the women of Iran”. .Black Knight (2022), Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi’s first feature film, explores the life of a young Iranian, living in…

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In the sky of Marrakech, stars and a pledge of hope for Iran