Despite the fact it occasionally uses stereotypes, Hassan Benjelloun's "The Black Room" reps an involving look at the harsh political climate that grasped Morocco in the mid-1970s. Pic's takers will mostly be human rights fests and those looking for North African flavor.

Despite the fact it occasionally uses stereotypes, Hassan Benjelloun’s “The Black Room” reps an involving look at the harsh political climate that grasped Morocco in the mid-1970s. Inspired by a true story (author Jaouad Mdidech’s mother appears at the end), pic traces the nightmarish journey of a young man after he is abducted by the police and subsequently imprisoned in Casablanca’s most notorious jail. Somewhat similar in theme to recent “Jawhara, Jail Girl,” pic’s takers will mostly be human rights fests and those looking for North African flavor.

Airline workers Kamal (Mohamed Nadif) and Najat (Hanane Ibrahimi) are in the throes of romance when he’s picked up by the security police and hauled away without explanation. Seems he dabbled in left-wing politics as a student, and, in a harsh crackdown on presumed extremists, one of his old colleagues fingers him under torture. Kamal’s former friend and Najat’s brother Taoufik (Abdel Malek Akhmis) is one of the interrogators, but he claims ignorance when Najat pleads for information. The pic’s low budget shows in the murky prison scenes, and jazzy score can be jarring, given the material.

The Black Room

Morocco

Production

A Bentaqerla production. (International sales: Bentaqerla Films, Casablanca.) Produced, directed, written by Hassan Benjelloun, inspired by "La chambre noire, ou Derb Moulay Chrif" by Jaouad Mdidech.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Kamal Derkaoui; editor, Emmanuel Faure; music, Younes Megri; production/costume designer, Adriano Pirani. Reviewed at Cairo Film Festival (New Arab Cinema), Dec. 6, 2004. Arabic, French and Berber dialogue. Running time: 115 MIN.

With

Mohamed Nadif, Hanane Ibrahimi, Abdel Malek Akhmis, Abdellah Amrani, Souad Saber, Fatima Ouchay, Omar Canbot, Omar Essayed, Salah Eddine Benmoussa, Driss Roukhe, Said Bey.
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0